LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — A parent of a child with autism says the school district has allowed her to send her son to class with an electronic monitor, but the same device has been denied to a family whose son was allegedly beaten with a wooden pointer by his special education teacher.
Shawnna Burress says she selected "AngelSense" to help track her son, Phillip, 11, after several scary campus escapes.
The device has the ability to track a person's movements based on GPS as well as listen in to what is going on around them.
Burress said there was an incident as recently as the beginning of the 2018-2019 school year.
"He cross five lanes of traffic when he got out of school the last time," said Burress.
"He was gone for an hour and 20 minutes," she added.
Henderson Police eventually tracked down Phillip.
"It's terrifying, it's actually the most terrifying feeling in the world," said Burress.
"You don't know where your kid is, you don't know how long your kid has been missing," said Burress.
Phillip has escaped from his school at least 5 times, according to Burress.
After consulting with a number of specialists and Phillip's school, she opted to use the device.
"It does have the ability to listen in and also turn that off if the school has a problem with it," said Burress about the features of the device which resembles a cell phone placed in a lockable pouch.
"We don't use that side of it, for us, it's only to track him," added Burress.
Burress says there is no agreement with the school district to stop her from listening, either.
The Individual Education Plan, or IEP, only stipulates a GPS tracker for Phillip's safety, despite the additional listening feature.
Josh Wahrer is currently battling the school district to allow his son to wear the same device.
"The big thing people are confused about with this device, they think it's a recording device," said Wahrer.
"It does not record at all, it is strictly like a cell phone if somebody picked up," explained Wahrer.
Wahrer's son JJ struggles with a severe form of autism.
JJ was allegedly beaten with a wooden pointer by his special needs teacher in 2018.
The teacher was arrested and resigned from her position.
Wahrer was denied by an independent hearing master to allow his son to wear the device so he can listen in while his child is at school.
Wahrer is currently appealing that decision in court.
13 Investigates contacted the school district about why some parents are allowed to use the AngelSense device and others cannot.
A spokesperson released the following statement:
"CCSD cannot comment on accommodations made for individual students. We have consistently told families inquiring about the Angel Sense devices that we cannot allow electronic surveillance, pursuant to state law."
Burress said other parents use the device and she's glad her son is able to wear it.