LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A Las Vegas family is willing to break the rules to send their child to school with a listening device. AngelSense is a device that can be worn by a child while giving parents the ability to listen to what’s happening around the child and to track them with GPS.
“I don’t trust anybody at this point,” Tania Blessing told the I-Team. Her 7-year-old daughter Gia is Autistic and speaks only a few words.
Blessing sent her daughter to school with AngelSense in early May. She claimed while listening with the device she could hear Gia in distress.
“My daughter was saying ‘no, no, no,’” Blessing said. She told the I-Team she immediately picked Gia up, admitted to school staff Gia was wearing the device and told them what she heard. She then went to the police.
According to Blessing, the only result was a different bus driver being placed on her daughter’s route.
There is video from the school bus, but Blessing said the Clark County School District refused to show it to her.
“I begged to them, just let me watch the video,” she said.
Blessing also told the I-Team school staff told her Gia could not return to school with the AngelSense listening device. According to the school district, there are privacy issues, and by law, so AngelSense is not allowed inside schools.
“I don’t care what the district says,” Sharon Brickner said.
Brickner is Gia’s step-grandmother, and she told the I-Team she was the one who purchased the device.
“Give me candy bars in jail. I don’t care. I’m sorry. This is a child,” Brickner said.
The family has hired attorney Marianne Lanuti to represent them in their case. Lanuti told the I-Team she filed a complaint against the school district with the Department of Education on their behalf.
Lanuti is also part of a team of attorneys who represent J.J. Wahrer, an Autistic non-verbal child whose parents are also fighting to send him to school with AngelSense.
“The school district refuses to protect these children, and a device is readily available that will protect them,” Lanuti said.
The Clark County School District would not comment on whether the family could view the school bus video in question.
A spokesman sent the I-Team an email stating the video appears to show the bus driver consoling Gia after an interaction with another student. No other information was given as the district cited privacy.
As for AngelSense, the spokesman states the district has consistently told families the district cannot allow electronic surveillance. The spokesman did not say whether the district would pursue charges against parents and guardians who continue to send their children to school with AngelSense.
The I-Team reached out to the Clark County District Attorney’s office to get the district attorney’s stance on AngelSense and whether charges would be pursued. In an email, a spokesperson wrote, in part, “Our office has not looked into this issue directly, and will not be able to do so in time for your story today.”