Bubba Salinas is a sophomore at Jordan High School in Katy ISD. He is also a member of the marching band and his parents say he loves making art.
“He loves the band. He loves his peers, and he always gives a big thumbs up,” says Bubba’s father Luis Salinas.
But according to his parents, Bubba, who lives with autism, will not receive any art credits for his band participation.
“It’s heartbreaking because that’s all we ever wanted for Bubba, just to fit in. We just want him to take credit just like everyone else, that’s all. Just be fair to him,’ said Luis.
Bubba’s parents said they met with school officials, and with the help of Bubba’s child advocate, they’ve even filed a complaint with the Office of Civil Rights.
“He is being discriminated against and his rights being violated simply because he is a student with autism,” says children’s lawyer Kassandra Levay.
“I’d like to see change so that families don’t have to go through this, spend all this money and fight,” said Bubba’s mom, Colleen Salinas.
A student and fellow band member, Taryn Hozdic, started an online petition to raise awareness of Bubba’s situation.
“We got 500 signatures and I jumped across my room. I was so excited for him and so excited that we had so much support,” said fellow band member Taryn Hozdic.
His other fellow band members are also pushing for change.
“He’s always there to join in, even if he doesn’t make the same as us, he always does his part,” said Catalina Parra.
“Even though he doesn’t do everything we do, he’s there and he’s a very, very big part of our team,” said Sai Vithala.
KPRC 2 contacted KATY ISD for an interview, but school officials declined, sending the following statement:
“All school districts must follow the Texas Education Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) mandated by the Texas Education Agency (TEA). It is the TEA, not individual school districts, that sets the parameters for the standards to be taught, assessed by teachers, and which Texas students must meet.”
The district also referred KPRC 2 to the TEA website for more information. And KPRC 2 also referred to the TEA website.
KPRC 2 also reached out to the Texas Education Agency for more information about how and when accommodations are made for students with disabilities. So far we have not received any response.
Bubba’s parents said that even if his situation doesn’t change, they feel they have already won because Bubba is loved and accepted by his peers and the community.
Currently, the petition for Bubba has 5,000 signatures. Visit the website to read and sign the petition.
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