Mon Aug 6, 2007 8:59 am ((PDT))
KGBT 4 - TV Harlingen, TX: Trouble at Evins Juvenile Detention Center
Trouble at Evins Juvenile Detention Center
Just months after the reorganization of the Texas Youth Commission facility, one insider tells all exclusively to Action 4 news.
Allegations of human rights violations called for major change at the facility just months ago, now allegations of a different kind are surfacing, allegations of insufficient education in the facility.
A woman who was a teacher at the facility for more than 3 years stepped forward with the allegations. She tells Action 4 News that even after the changes, your tax dollars are being wasted and the inmates at the facility are being denied another right, the right to a good education.
"Because of the principal, taxpayer money has been lost," she said. She does not want to show her face or share her name, but says she has a story to tell.
"Education has been lost, computers that are not obsolete are sitting in the warehouse since January," she explained.
An education she says is being lost at the Evins regional Juvenile Center for boys aged 12 to 22.
She is a former teacher of the year and has been recognized by the state.
Just days ago she was fired.
In her most recent teacher performance appraisal she is praised, one comment reads: "teacher diligently works with students, engaging them in successful learning."
But, there is a problem, she says, with this report. It's detailed in an e-mail to the state; in it she says she was only evaluated for 3 minutes, not the required 45 and she says that is "highly irregular and illegal"
The report she tells us is a carbon copy of past reports issued by other administration and that is part of the reason she claims she was let go.
"I was a whistle blower," she explained.
She says not only were the human rights violations plaguing the facility, there are several educational violations as well. She says students are not getting the class time they need.
"If there's a little problem, the whole room goes back to the dorm," she explained, "if there's one or two problems, everyone is punished not just the child inciting the trouble."
Despite those hours missed in the classroom, she says students are getting credit for hours they have not studied. "We were being asked to just check the boxes and give them credits," she said.
She tells us under the TYC scale, ten hours in the classroom equals three months of work. Its a tragedy that she worries not only affects the students, but wastes taxpayer dollars and ultimately makes our streets more dangerous.
"In the end the community is going to suffer, because they're going to turn to be adult criminals," said the former teacher.
The woman says she was punished for encouraging the boys to learn, getting creative and stepping out of the box in her lessons. And she's coming forward now, not only because she was fired, but also for her students. "I feel like I'm also their mother, their nurse, their teacher and yes, I would step out of the box again," she said.
The TYC Director Of Public Affairs, Jim Harley tells Action 4 News the facility follows the No Child Left Behind Act, but because they are a correctional facility, not every provision that is required in public schools is required at TYC facilities.
But, with the new administration in place, they are very interested in hearing from anyone with concerns at the facility. To file a complaint, you can call them at 1-866-477-8354 with any concerns, you can also log onto their website at http://www.tyc.state.tx.us/.
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