IDEA Alamo


No teacher ever suggested Arnold Lopez was a liar when he attended the Pharr-San Juan-Alamo school district, the 11-year-old said recently.

But at IDEA Public Schools — where students cannot leave class during the first and last 20 minutes of instruction — a substitute doubted the sixth-grader truly “needed” to rush to the restroom on Sept. 8.

“I told her I’m a diabetic. … My kidneys work overtime to lower my (blood sugar) levels,” Arnold said. “She said, ‘Are you making that up?’

“Who would make up something like that? How many kids know about kidneys?” he asked. “I was literally about to just go (when) she walked fast — I heard her heels — and blocked the door with her body.”

Arnold said he never faced such discomfort at PSJA’s Napper Elementary, where every absent teacher left a note specifically explaining his condition to substitutes.

The humiliating incident could have been prevented, mother Marina Lopez said, if campus leaders and staff met with her before his transfer to the charter school’s Alamo campus in August.

“Before day one, IDEA told me they’d do whatever it takes” to accommodate his special needs, she said. “That never happened, (and) we had to pull him out...

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