This is the time we aren’t going to back down anymore. At one point we had to. I couldn’t say anything, but now I want to take a stand for it, and we need to fight against the injustices that have been allowed to continue throughout all this year and many years prior by one family with an agenda that never ends.”
In the wake of Amanda Carter’s arrest for allegedly placing illegal recording devices on her daughter’s wheelchair, other parents of special needs children at Live Oak High school are speaking out in defense of the school and its educators.
The specific teacher cannot speak to the media because it would violate school policy. It’s why a group of six moms and a retired para discussed what they said was the teacher’s side and their own side.
Carter claims she began using the recording devices because she believed her non-verbal daughter was being mistreated, but other parents are claiming the exact opposite. Some parents moved to the area just to send their children to the school, and others have chosen to keep their children in the program after graduating.
“We actually lived in a district where I did not want my child going to school. We sold and moved over here so I could put my child into this school. This program over here is perfect for her,” an anonymous parent said.
And another parent said,”My child doesn’t have to attend. He’s already graduated, but I chose to let him attend because it’s a good atmosphere for him. If I thought that for any second it was bad, then he definitely wouldn’t be going.”
All of the children of the parents who decided to come forward went to school with Carter’s daughter at one point, and they claim Carter’s behavior has always been problematic since her child was in elementary and middle school.
These parents have claimed that they have not shared any of the complaints Carter has made, and retired para Jessica Anderson agreed with the parents statements.
“It’s funny how there is nothing out there except for this one mother who has done this at every single school that her child has attended,” Anderson said. “Every single one in Livingston Parish. One family has been able to destroy, lie, defame the entire community: the teachers, the admin, the students.”
They find suspicion in her decision to leave her child at the school if she was being mistreated, and are confused how they can have such different experiences.
Multiple parents say the teachers at Live Oak High school are loved by their children, one mother even said, “Mine would live at school if they would let him. He loves it.”
Anderson said the parents of her students are very caring and protective of their children, so if something was wrong, more parents would be speaking against the paras.
Instead of criticizing the special education department’s teachers, one parent said, “I’m here to back (the teacher) and the paras. My child is non-verbal. He was in a shell when he first started going there and they just pulled him out. It is very obvious he is loved by everybody in the sped department. She (the teacher) is actually the main reason we moved to the Live Oak school district for my child to go there. He’s a pretty good kid, but he has had a few spells where he acted out and I was really concerned for when that would happen with (the teacher) one day. It ended up happening with her and the way that they all handled it was wonderful. The teacher contacted me and we discussed what happened and she was just very honest and open and told me not to worry because I was so upset about it.”
Someone else described their child’s relationship with the paras as family like.
“He loves school and loves being with friends. When I say friends, I mean even the teachers. They’re friends and family because that’s how we view them as another part of our family. They really do show how much they care and when you see our kids around them, you know that our kids are very comfortable and they love them.”
These parents have repeatedly sang the praises of the paras and the school, but they claim Carter’s actions have made them consider pulling their children for the program.
A parent said, “She is using her child as a tool and she has done it repeatedly. Whether it be at school, to get things, on social media, or for these new groups on Facebook, she always uses her child as a way to get sympathy or to get money. The adults in her life are using her as a tool repeatedly.”
Other parents also voiced their concern for Carter’s daughter and their frustration with what they claim was Carter using their children in the same way.
“She had pictures of our kids, mine included, trying to make accusations against people that we love and know love our children. Why are you using our kids pictures? We do not support you or what you’re doing,” a parent said.
The parent said Carter allegedly edited a picture of one of the children to make it appear that it is her daughter.
The parents wanted it to be clear that they were not “jumping on the band-wagon” to shame or punish another mom, but instead they are speaking out and doing what they are doing to ensure the success of their own children.
“This time we aren’t going to back down anymore,” Anderson said. “At one point we had to. I couldn’t say anything, but now I want to take a stand for it, and we need to fight against the injustices that have been allowed to continue throughout all this year and many years prior by one family with an agenda that never ends.”
To keep the special education department going and to protect their children, these parents have found it necessary to support the department and the teachers who they say “go above and beyond.”
“If my kids felt unsafe or unloved, they would not want to be in that environment. They can’t wait to get on that school bus and go to school because they know they are cared for, and I have seen my children thrive. His self-confidence and his independence level, that is not something I could have accomplished on my own,” a mother said.