School Board members will hear about changes needed in special needs schools to prevent tragedies

TAMPA BAY - On Friday morning, Hillsborough County School Board members will hear what needs to change inside schools in order to prevent tragedies like the recent deaths of two special needs students.

Superintendent MaryEllen Elia appointed a task force 10 days ago, and charged them with researching how special needs teachers and aides may be better trained for their job, as well as how the entire school system can better communicate with each other and parents.

After the October drowning death of Jenny Caballero,10, another family announced they planned to sue the school system for their daughter's death in January. Bella Herrera, 7, died after choking on her wheelchair during her bus ride home. Her parents believe she was improperly restrained.

Caballero disappeared while under the watch of five aides, all of whom are currently on paid suspension.

Parents and activists plan to protest Friday afternoon.

They continue to call for change, an end to what they refer to as cover-ups and a history of negligence.

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