HUDSON, TX (KTRE) - Every Tuesday through Saturday in the 400 block of South Chestnut Street, you will find a one-woman beautician at work inside Janell's Styling Salon. A peak inside the small, intimate shop and you will find many customers, but one stylist: Janell Moreland.
The Hudson resident's heart and mind are never far from her only child—we'll call him “T”—who is a graduating senior at Hudson High School. He has special needs.
“To provide for my baby,” is Moreland's reason why she became a cosmetologist 20 years ago and operates her own shop. “He's the only one I have. He was my motivation to provide. Since I am his sole provider, it's just me,” she added while running a flat iron through the tresses of one of her three customers in the salon.
As the sole stylist, Moreland said she's busy with regular customers and walk-ins. So, when she has to take time to leave work to drive down Highway 94 to Hudson High School to address concerns with her son “T,” who is enrolled in the Special Education program, she risks losing money to see about her only child.
Heading to Hudson has been frequent and challenging lately, due to a special education teacher's aide telling her son he has girlish-like ways.
“My son walks in the door in tears literally,” Moreland recalled about Monday, April 20th. “And he was very upset. Which—of course—made me upset.”
According to an investigation results email dated April 27th, which was sparked by an email Moreland sent to Hudson ISD Superintendent Mary Ann Whiteker about what was said to her son and other matters of concern, the teacher's aide confessed she did in fact tell “T” "you sound like a girl." Whiteker wrote that the staff member claimed she was attempting to joke with him.
Weeks later, “T” is still troubled by what he remembers of that teacher's “joke.”
"She told me to stop squeaking my voice. I told her ‘I wasn't squeaking my voice.' I said, ‘That's the way I talk.” I said “Dang,” “T” said as he sat motionless on his mother's sofa recalling what happened while his class was on its PE period.
"It felt bad," said softly.
"Why?" I asked.
"‘Cause. That teacher shouldn't say that. “You got a squeak in your voice,” he said calmly.
The next day after the situation happened—Tuesday, April 21st-- Moreland headed to Hudson High School to talk with the teacher who called her son a girl. While she was there, Moreland said she became truly disturbed when an assistant administrator called the police.
“For no valid reason at all. And it just upset me. It sent me over the edge—as far as being upset that would do such a thing,” Moreland explained about being baffled when she saw two police officers had been called to campus during her visit.
“They did not speak to me. Nor did I speak to them because they had no valid reason to [speak to me],” Moreland said. “Calling the police on me when I went up to address the issue about my son's teacher? They would call the police on me? I still don't understand why.”
After the leaving the campus frustrated, Moreland pulled out her cell phone and did something she rarely does: she shot the video about what happened at the campus and posted it on Facebook.
As a single mom who is her child's sole advocate, Moreland said there have been other issues or challenges over the last two years. They generally dealt with the classes her son should take to prepare him for life after high school—like improving his reading and math skills.
"This is the first time they've said anything about his body,” she said.
And with a special needs child still dealing with puberty, Moreland said a teacher should know better.
“He's a young man, body still changing. He doesn't understand his body half of the time. So how is an advocate going to say something about his body,' Moreland said with concern.
On Tuesday, May 12th, Moreland said she received a call from
The boy's mother said the same teacher has criticized him again.
"It made me mad when she said, 'I wish you was a girl.' That's what she said. I said, 'Can I go see the principal?'" T said about the second incident.