Caught Between Schools

Like most teens, Elizabeth Zavala dreams big. She wants to become a doctor someday - but she won TMt reach her goals if she doesn TMt go to school. According to her mother Rosela Zavala, the problem is administrators at Harlingen High School did not let Elizabeth register for her sophomore year.

"My mom has custody of (my daughter), legal guardianship of her, Rosela Zavala said. They won TMt accept her at the Harlingen High School because I live in san Benito. But what does that have to do with it? I TMm not her guardian, my mom is." The girls grandma, Rosalinda Inguanzo said when she went to register her granddaughter, school officials told her in order to accept the girl, her parent had to own property or work in Harlingen, which Elizabeth TMs mom does not.

"I tell them I pay my taxes and she lives with me," Inguanzo said. Inguanzo adds her granddaughter withdrew from the San Benito school district, not anticipating any problems in Harlingen. The family even got a notarized letter stating the girl lives and is under the guardianship of her grandmother in Harlingen, not her mother in San Benito.

The family said that wasn't good enough for the Harlingen school district.

"Her mom signed her to me and they're (saying) that I have to go see the judge, to make it legal (and) for me to be the adoptive parent, Inguanzo said. But she's my granddaughter, I don TMt have to be an adoptive parent." Harlingen Independent School District officials tell Action 4 News as per their policy, they cannot accept the teen unless the girl TMs grandmother, Rosalinda Inguanzo, has been designated by court as her legal guardian. They add a notarized letter does not meet that criteria.