A Severely Autistic Teen Wandered Away from Dallas' Conrad High, and No One Noticed [Updated]

ConradHighSchoolDISD.jpg
Dallas ISD
CORRECTION: A previous version of this post stated incorrectly that the teacher leading one of Conrad high's autism units, Aimee Kelly, had been fired for alleged misconduct toward a student. She has not been fired, but is on paid administrative leave and her boss has recommended that she be fired. In an email message to Unfair Park, her lawyer says she was falsely accused and her case is still under investigation.

According to records Unfair Park obtained from DISD, Kelly was placed on paid leave and removed from the classroom for "conduct towards [a] special needs student that adversely affected the mental health of the student," according for request for administrative leave signed by Conrad Principal David Hamilton, which noted that a child abuse report was attached to the request. DISD declined to release that report, citing state confidentiality laws.

Records released by the district included a recommendation dated March 31 from Hamilton that Kelly be terminated. According to DISD documents, Hamilton reviewed a video tape of the incident that led to his recommendation that Kelly be fired.

ORIGINAL POST: A severely autistic teenager wandered away from Conrad High School in Vickery Meadow on Friday afternoon.

The boy, who police say functions on the level of a 3-year-old, was located four hours later wandering near Skyline High School -- 10 miles to the southeast of Conrad, in the general vicinity of his home -- after an intensive, four-hour search involving Dallas PD's canine unit and helicopter.

According to a police report, surveillance footage showed the teen walking from school alone at 3:30 p.m.

In an email to DISD officials obtained by the Observer, the boy's mother describes, in Spanish, her anguish on Friday. According to the email, she received a call Friday afternoon asking if she had picked up her son.

She hadn't, nor had her husband. The boy wasn't on the bus, and he hadn't boarded the bus he was supposed to take home.

Both parents rushed to the school, where they were greeted by several police officers asking questions about their son. No one seemed quite sure what had happened to him, the mother wrote, though they did show them footage of the boy leaving the campus.

Conrad High School is home to two of DISD's autism units, programs offered at select campuses designed to accommodate students suffering from severe forms of the disorder.

Zahra Darwish has an autistic daughter in a DISD middle school and often helps other parents navigate DISD's special education system. She describes Conrad's Autism Units (there are two) as a disaster.

"I believe it could happen at any time," Darwish says. Conrad's autism units both currently lack a trained autism specialist, she says. In their stead, untrained substitutes come and go, overseeing a group of poorly trained, non-certified assistants.

This would be a problem in any special education classroom but is particularly worrisome with autistic teenagers who are prone to wandering and violent outbursts.

"They're not watching the kids," Darwish says. "A lot of them are not watching what is going on with the children. So how could this happen? It could happen very easily."

Stephanie Elizalde, the executive director over Conrad's feeder pattern, wrote in a March 27 email to DISD special education chief Angela Pittman that the district is trying to find "some workable solutions" to the recent autism unit issues.

Pittman responded with a plan for Conrad involving finding a qualified teacher to replace Kelly, working with substitute teachers and other staff on classroom structure and establishing routines and communication strategies for autistic students, and work with families on developing plans for their children after high school.

Send your story tips to the author, Eric Nicholson.


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33 comments
holmantx
holmantx topcommenter

Good thing he wasn't near The Bridge.

Greg820
Greg820

Ah, they joys of mindlessly judging others from the safety and annonimity of computers.  Before this, these ignorant farts had to sit at a bar or by some stove and talk about the world going to hell to a disinterested bartender or shop clerk.  The wonders of modern technology.

WhyDontYouJoinNAMBLA
WhyDontYouJoinNAMBLA

What a disgraceful waste use of school and police resources. 


Where do we draw the line on this failed social experiment. 

WhyDontYouJoinNAMBLA
WhyDontYouJoinNAMBLA

The real question here is why is someone who functions at the level of a 3 year old in high school to begin with? 


Oh right because DISD is just a day care for the illegal immigrant peasant class. 

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@WhyDontYouJoinNAMBLA

Thanks! it's posts from you like this that tells me I've been successful in exposing you to be the idiot you truly are.

keep up the good work!

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@Greg820

Which is why I enjoyed my time as a bartender. I was always right then, just as I am now.

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@WhyDontYouJoinNAMBLA

The real question here is why is someone who functions at the level of a 3 year old in high school to begin with?

Your ignorance in regard to autism, and the venomous comments you make in regard to those who are afflicted, says a lot about you.

and what it says is not positive btw...

JSSS
JSSS

@WhyDontYouJoinNAMBLA  Seriously, go eff yourself. What do you want society to do with kids that have developmental disabilities -- lock them up so you don't have to see them? Abort them? Starve them to death? Do you think the parents said, "Geez, I wish my kid could be screwed up for the rest of his life"? These kids are in school so that one day they might develop the skills to at least live in a group home or maybe even live on their own and have a job. But it sounds like DISD has written them off, just like you have. 

ozonelarryb
ozonelarryb

You are correct. Someone at that level deserves to be on city council at least.

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@NAMBLA

Just because the mother doesn't speak English doesn't mean she's not a citizen. In certain areas, knowledge of English is simply not needed.

But, her monolingual nature would likely embarrass our monolingual president should she visit France.

TheCredibleHulk
TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

@TheRuddSki  

VFW, I'll bet.

Maybe Knights of Columbus.

LOOK-at-MeRuddSki
LOOK-at-MeRuddSki

@JSSS NAMBLA is the buttboy to ruddski.   or is ruddski.  they are trolls of the worst kind.  neither with a lick of fucking sense and their aim is to represent the worst of humanity. 


their primary goal is to make dallas look like a home of extreme bigots and goat fuckers. 


you can almost predict what they/he will spew.   there is no level of hatred too low for them.  they suck the scum off of a toilet with each bit of crap they write. 

WhyDontYouJoinNAMBLA
WhyDontYouJoinNAMBLA

@JSSS  So everyone gets a ribbon and a gold medal? 


It is a disservice to tax payers as well as the other students. Their education is degraded and devalued by your constant lowering of the bar. 


The fact that someone who operates at the level of a THREE YEAR OLD can be in, and likely graduate, high school is an admission that educational program is worthless. Why bother with it at all?


And that has absolutely nothing to do with your emotive vaginal menses. 

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@WhyDontYouJoinNAMBLA

If the prior 8+ years of schooling could not bring him up to a proper level of functioning then no he does not belong in high school

you need to admit that you know little if anything about autism. "functioning" is a social evaluation, not an intelligence/academic term. the kid could be completing school work and remain a challenge socially.

since you want everyone to fail in the name of fairness.

clearly, as shown in your posts, you should just admit that you know little if anything, period.

JSSS
JSSS

@WhyDontYouJoinNAMBLA  You're a fucking idiot, so caught up in the name of the building instead of the what the actual program the building houses is supposed to be doing. Who gives a shit what the building is called. The concept of "social advancement" has no application in the special education environment. But one reason why they move kids along at "generally" the pace of their same-aged classmates is due to size -- you don't want a teenager in the same class as a six year old, even if they both are operating at a three year old's level. 

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@mavdog

I'm not addressing autism, I'm just picking on this particular institution.

That the have an autism unit is fine, they're not to be locked away in some hole.

WhyDontYouJoinNAMBLA
WhyDontYouJoinNAMBLA

@mavdog @WhyDontYouJoinNAMBLA  


His chances were grades k-8. 


If the prior 8+ years of schooling could not bring him up to a proper level of functioning then no he does not belong in high school and it was a disservice to him and everything in the school to continue advancing him.


Of course a liberal retard like yourself wouldn't understand that since you want everyone to fail in the name of fairness.

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@WhyDontYouJoinNAMBLA

"where did I say he should not be given the chance" followed by "if you think someone who operates at a 3 year old level belongs in high school".

wow, you are a smart one aren't you?

and then the "you are fucking retarded" line.

bwahahahahaha.

WhyDontYouJoinNAMBLA
WhyDontYouJoinNAMBLA

@mavdog  Where did I say he should not be given the chance? 


If you think someone who operates at a 3 year old level belongs in high school then you are fucking retarded. But we already knew that.


So either a 3 year old belongs in high school, which means the high school is a joke or a 3 year old does NOT belong in high school which means the high school is a joke since they are in reality admitting 3 year olds. 


So which is it?

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@TheRuddSki

seems the problem is personnel/HR, which should not be too difficult to correct.

but then this is DISD...

Autism is an afflcition that should not result in the kid not having access to education, for the autistic kid can learn if taught in the right manner.

many tech firms find autistic kids are great programmers...

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@mavdog

One teacher fired for severely mistreating students, one severely autistic kid allowed to wander off campus alone..

Maybe this particular school is not the ideal place for autistic kids?

mavdog
mavdog topcommenter

@WhyDontYouJoinNAMBLA

what? your claim is saying an autistic kid shouldn't be given the chance to be in "high school to begin with" is not saying "anything about those afflicted with it".

interesting, you make a statement and then seem to not understand what you said. or you are embarrassed when called out for what you said and try to hide from it.

tsk tsk, wallowing deeper and deeper in that hole aren't you?

TheRuddSki
TheRuddSki topcommenter

@LOOK

What have you got against goat-fuckers? Goatophobic?

What set you off this time, my concern that the DISD facility is poorly-managed and it's not fair to autistic kids who deserve better ?

Was it my sly dig at our monolingual, hypocritical president?

My bar tending? Are you a sub-par skier?

Or, was it the Margaret Sanger newsreel video? Does she upset you? The interviewer's accent certainly upset me.

I think you just have bad days, come home fuming, then Ruddski cracks a joke that chaps your crack. Maybe you just need a big hug. Maybe you haven't got the ability to articulate what's really bothering you, and anonymously venting at someone who perhaps represents that kid in high school who always got the best of you and made you cry softly to yourself is a catharsis.

Well, it is less expensive than professional help, and I can write off the time spent reading your posts as a charitable contribution.

Or, you could try eating some of those hallucinogenic Bluebonnets.

JSSS
JSSS

@WhyDontYouJoinNAMBLA  High school just happens to be the title of the place. Do you think that these kids are doing calculus? The hope is that they can learn some life skills, fuckwad.  That you would deem this kids unsuitable for a school environment simply because of the name on the door of the building simply demonstrates what a miserable human being you are. Let's call the building "School for the Developmentally Challenged" -- does that take care of your issue?

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