Little-known resource helping parents resolve problems

Maderian Johnson had a problem. Her 17-year-old son, a student at HISD’s Westbury High School, had been suspended for excessive class-skipping, and she had been asked to come to the campus to discuss the situation.

But Johnson was still recovering from a recent surgical procedure and was unable to meet in person with school administrators. She called the school to request a phone conference instead.

“The person I spoke with didn’t know me or what kind of parent I was, but he was really just rude,” said Johnson. “He acted like I was making excuses not to come, but that is not true. I have been unwell, I have additional surgery scheduled, and I just don’t feel comfortable leaving the house yet.”

So Johnson called the district’s Parent and Community Assistance Center (PCAC) for help, and the staff there quickly set about resolving the situation.

“I just wanted to know what my rights were as a parent,” explained Johnson. “Ms. (Alma) Aguilar was just so kind and compassionate. My heart was hurting and I was kind of burdened when I called, but after speaking with her, I felt so much better. She explained that the policy on absentees does say that school administrators are within their rights to request a face-to-face meeting with parents, but then she worked with me to find a solution, and I’m scheduled to come in now a few days after my next procedure, so I’ll have adequate time to recover.”

Johnson said that this was her third time to call the PCAC over the years, and every experience has been really positive. “As a parent, I’m going to spread the word and let everyone know (that this resource exists),” she said. “If it hadn’t been for Ms. Aguilar (and the PCAC), I probably would have still been sitting here in tears.”

If you or someone you know needs help addressing concerns, issues, or conflicts related to district policies, procedures, or personnel, please call 713-556-7121 for assistance.