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Parents of Special Need Students Voicing Concerns with Educa

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EDINBURG - State and federal education officials held their fourth of five meetings across the state of Texas inviting parents of special needs students to voice their concerns. 

A Houston Chronicle investigation revealed a denial of services for special needs students across the state. Following the report, the U.S. Department of Education wanted to hear from parents. 

Gregg Corr with the U.S. Department of Education Special Education Program said, "Recently, concerns have been brought to our attention about the decreasing identification rate in Texas for students with disabilities."

Tuesday's meeting was held in Edinburg, and parents were more than willing to voice their concerns. Parent Willie Ruiz said, "We're doing our kids a disservice in this state."

Pauline Mann agreed. "They've told me physically to my face, 'I don't have time for your child,'" she said.

Parents and special education advocates said lack of screenings, denial of service, inattention from educators and lack of necessary equipment are a few of the issues. 

The Houston Chronicle investigation helped launch the federal probe into TEA's 8.5 percent indicator, which only allowed a small portion of special education services to school districts. The Houston Chronicle report cited it is the lowest rate of any state in the U.S.

Corr said, "That's a fairly significant decrease, and it's quite different from the federal rate which is about 13 percent."

Parents said school districts aren't meeting the needs of their special needs children. Corr added there is nothing in the law that says states need to meet a percentage.

"The law really is directed towards providing individualized services to each eligible child," he explained.

Right now, there is no word on how long the federal investigation into the state's special education program will last. The fifth and final meeting will be held in Austin. 

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