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Father Demanding Answers from School Concerning Son's Health

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MERCEDES – A father wants to know why his son’s former school failed to notify him about his son’s health condition.

The concerned parent said the lack of communication caused his son’s scoliosis to go untreated.

Zach Herard said his children are his world and works hard to make sure they are always safe and healthy.

“That’s generally my concern is just making sure they are well fed, healthy and making good grades in school,” he said.

The father of three said he took his 14-year-old son, Tristain, for a yearly physical a few weeks ago. He was shocked to learn his son was suffering from scoliosis.

“She was like, ‘Oh wow, he has a significant curve in his back.’ And…I was really taken aback because no one has said anything about this at all. You know the whole time he is in school screenings. They told me he has moderate scoliosis, which it goes mild, moderate and severe, so it’s kind of already progressed a little bit and I found that a little strange,” Herard said.

He said he couldn’t stop wondering how his son’s condition could be considered moderate at his first diagnosis. He decided to contact his son’s former school, Rising Scholars Academy in San Benito, to request medical records. He was surprised to find out two years prior the school nurse diagnosed his son with mild scoliosis.

“I didn’t get a phone call. In the records it indicates that he was referred by the school which means they sent a letter. But I didn’t get a letter,” Herard said.

He said if he had been properly notified he could have bought a brace for his son. He added it may have prevented further curving of the spine. He can’t understand why the school never called.

“My son and I both get nose bleeds really easily. They are a really minor thing. You just put some toilet paper in there, stop it and you’re good to go. But I’ve been called for something as minor as that, but for something as serious as this, there is just no phone call,” the father said.

CHANNEL 5 NEWS reached out to South Texas ISD to find out why that call was never made. They declined an interview but sent a statement, which reads in part:

“We take the health and wellness of our students seriously, and we comply with all guidelines issued by the state. As per the Texas Administrative Code 37.143 Spinal Screening Procedures, spinal screening is required for all children in grades six and nine who attend public and private schools, to detect abnormal spinal curvature...The law requires that we provide the report to the parent/guardian via mail in a written format.

We comply and send reports via mail to the address we have on file. The mailed notification is in compliance with Texas Administrative Code 37.144 School Requirements; Department Activities. It is unfortunate that this important information was somehow not received by the parent when it was mailed, but we hope that the student is able to get the care that he needs."

Herard said he is upset and frustrated. He said his major concern at this point is the wellness of his son.

He said his family lost their healthcare coverage a month ago, that’s just before he found out about the scoliosis diagnosis. All treatment moving forward will have to be paid out-of-pocket. 

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