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In July, over 1,300 Texas families enrolled at Lone Star Online Academy at Roscoe (LSOA) were told they couldn’t return to the public school of their choice due to the screening requirements of SB 15. Less than a month before the first day of school, students who received 50% or more of their education online the previous school year were informed of their ineligibility for enrollment because they either hadn’t met attendance requirements, received a grade C or less in a subject, or failed a STAAR test.
For many of these students, LSOA had become a safe haven after a tumultuous school career. Special needs individuals, bullying victims, and immunocompromised children had finally found the perfect learning environment.
One family that turned to LSOA for health accommodations was the Garza family in Rio Grande, Texas.
“LSOA gave me the freedom I needed for my daughter’s education,” states Anabel Garza whose daughter Briella has chronic asthma and would’ve been entering her 6th grade year at the online academy. Anabel said she loved preparing breakfast for Briella while she actively learned online.
“During times of crisis my daughter Briella was accommodated to meet her specific needs. LSOA assured Briella received quality education during the COVID Pandemic.”
With access to LSOA, Anabel says she “enjoyed the flexibility and shield it delivered to protect my daughter’s overall health” and was “shattered” when she “received the news two weeks prior to school start” that Briella couldn’t return and in fact had to be forced back into a brick-and-mortar public school which could be detrimental to her health.
“During her first week of school she had difficulty breathing and could not adjust to her new environment. As a parent I was mortified to have her return to school. No parent should have to send their children to school with the fear of them not returning.”
Briella and her sister Britzel are two accomplished virtual students. Briella speaks three languages and loves baking and art. Britzel attends Texas Virtual Academy (TVAH) and enjoys spending time with her dogs Blue and Pink when she’s not working on her online business.
“She’s 16 years old and actively learns online while running her first online business,” says Anabel. “TVAH allowed her to learn and protect her sister from exposure to the Covid virus.”
We asked Anabel what encouragement she would offer other parents who may be experiencing a similar situation with their child. “My advice to other parents with children with life threatening diseases is there’s always hope. Our children deserve access to quality education and health accommodations.”
Anabel Garza is the newly instated parent lead in Rio Grande, Texas.