Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is a rightwing zealot. He has two obsessions that keep him awake at night. He wants vouchers. And, he wants to keep transgender people out of the bathroom of their choice. He runs the State Senate. He is an extremist. As one of the regular readers here said, if Patrick has his way with the bathroom bill, the women’s and girls’ bathrooms will suddenly have some hairy, muscled patrons who look very much like men.
Two sisters testified against the voucher bill, which is intended to offer vouchers to students with disabilities.
First was Abby. This is her testimony:
Mr. Chairman and members of the committee:
• My name is Abby Tassin. I am 17-years-old and I have Down syndrome.
• I am testifying against the bill.
• I am going to the 11th grade at Ridge Point High School in Fort Bend ISD.
• I have been going to school in my neighborhood with my friends ever since I was in kindergarten.
• I like going to school with my friends and my sisters.
• Sometimes my teachers give me help and sometimes they don’t.
• Sometimes my teachers follow my IEP and sometimes they don’t.
• Sometimes my teachers follow my behavior plan when I get upset in class and sometimes they don’t.
• When I was in the 6th grade, my teacher flipped me out of my desk.
• She grabbed me and scratched me.
• She told me, “Shut up you stupid Brat.”
• She made me sit in the middle of the floor during class and would not let me get back in my desk.
• I was embarrassed and I was crying.
• Going to school has not always been easy for me.
• My parents have to fight for me to get what I need in school.
• My parents have to fight for me to be in the regular class.
• Now I go to my ARD meetings with my parents and fight for myself.
• But, I do not want to go to private school.
• Giving my parents money for me to leave my school will not help me.
• I want to go to school with my friends and my sisters.
• My best friend is named Nevaeh. She has been my best friend for 8 years.
• She does not have a disability.
• We help each other. We are in theater together. We were on swim team together.
• I don’t want to be treated differently. I just want to be like everyone else and go to school with my friends like everyone else.
• Please help me to stay in my regular school with my friends.
• Please make it easier for me to be able to go to school there.
• Help my teachers be able to help me better.
• Please fight for me and other people like me.
• Please don’t give up. Please vote against this bill. Thank you.
Then came her sister Sarah. This is her testimony:
Mr. Chairman and members of the committee:
• My name is Sarah Tassin. I am testifying against the bill.
• I am 15-years-old and am going to the 10th grade at Ridge Point High School in Fort Bend ISD.
• I am two years younger than my sister, Abby, who has Down syndrome.
• We have been very close my whole life and have gone to school together since we were babies.
• My sister would not be interacting with typical peers and learning how to be independent if she went to a private school for kids with disabilities.
• Abby is becoming independent and prepared to be part of our society because she has had the opportunity to go to school with typical kids and learn in the same classes they do.
• While she has not always gotten everything she needs in school and my parents have had to fight for her to be there, she is pushed harder to learn more in regular classes with other kids her age and she has learned how to make friends who are different than her.
• It makes me sad when someone says they would rather send a kid away to another school than take the time to help educate them where and how they need.
• These kids don’t need to be put in a school where everyone is the same and they never learn how the world actually is and understands the standards the world sets. Instead we need to put money and effort into the programs we have for them right where they are.
• Having my sister at school with me means a lot to me. I get to share classes with her, like theatre, and it allows my friends to get to know her. Going to school with her helps them better understand people with disabilities and they learn how to interact with all kids, not just typical kids.
• My sister inspires me to be better every day because she is constantly defying any limits set for her. Please help make sure her school and all other schools in Texas are doing what’s right for my sister and other kids with disabilities.
• I am asking you to vote against this bill and instead fight to make public school better for my sister and all the other kids like her.
• Thank you.
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