Student stabbed in the eye in classroom is denied medical aid by school

Student stabbed in the eye in classroom is denied medical aid by school
Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff
Source: KTRE Staff
Source: Hernandez family
Source: Hernandez family

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - An East Texas mother is searching for answers after her son was stabbed in the eye at Mike Moses Middle School, and questions why the Nacogdoches Independent School District will not cover his medical costs.

Bryan Hernandez was in class when he said two students began, "playing around."

"I hear two kids playing around, and then I look up because they started growing louder, and louder. That's when I saw her throw a pen at me," Hernandez said.

Josie Gonzalez, Bryan's mother said she received a phone call from the school's nurse advising she needed to take him to their family doctor.

"She arrived at school and saw how frantic, and in pain Bryan was. She knew immediately something else was going on because he is not a type of child who cries," a translator said for Gonzalez. "They didn't give the importance of trying to get an ambulance up there, or transporting Bryan to get treatment sooner."

Gonzalez immediately drove Bryan to a local emergency room, and the injury required 15 stitches to close. She said after multiple attempts to contact the school, they said they would not help with medical costs.

"They contacted the school district to try and get an appointment, and get help with medical bills. As of right now she has not received help," Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez said her son is now in need of a cataract extraction and corneal transplant, but their family does not have the money to pay for the surgery.

"He needs surgery as soon as possible for the cataract extraction and corneal transplant, if not there is prognosis that he might lose his eyesight completely," Gonzalez said.

We reached out to Nacogdoches Independent School District, and received a statement from the interim-superintendent, Sandra Dowdy.

Nacogdoches ISD regrets a student was injured in an accident that occurred at Mike Moses Middle School on November 17, 2016.  The district extends sincere wishes to the student for a speedy recovery and complete healing.  District and campus leadership are working with the student and family to provide educational services while recuperating at home.  Nacogdoches ISD strives to ensure all students are provided a safe and secure environment to learn.  Despite these efforts, accidents sometimes occur through no fault of the individuals involved; when students are injured, the District works with parents to locate resources to defer medical expenses, but cannot use school funds for that purpose.   As a public school district, Nacogdoches ISD is immune from liability for injuries that occur on school property unless the injury occurs as the result of the negligent use or operation of a motor vehicle.  While immunity laws may seem unfair, they exist to ensure taxpayer dollars are reserved for education.  Because the Texas Legislature has specifically determined that a public school district shall bear no liability for personal injuries, like student accidents, paying medical expenses would be "gifting" public funds, which is prohibited by the Texas constitution.

Now the family is asking, was this really an accident? Bryan questions why the student who stabbed him has not been involved in any investigation, and thinks this could have been prevented.

"It wasn't an accident, she just wasn't thinking before she acted," Hernandez said. "If I went to school, hurt somebody far worse than this, and said it was an accident just to not be punished for it? It's not fair."

The family has started a GoFund Me to raise awareness for the situation, and is attempting to raise enough money for Bryan to have eye surgery. His mother said he is now in a race against time.

"People may not realize how important this is, but he could lose his eyesight," Gonzalez said. "What would the superintendent people do if it was their son, their family member."

If you would like to donate towards Bryan Hernandez's medical funds, all you have to do is click here for his GoFund Me:

A fundraiser will be held Saturday starting at 11:00 a.m. in Nacogdoches at Tia Pancha.

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