AUSTIN - Texas Senator Don Huffines (R-Dallas) apologized Tuesday for his "tone" during a conversation with students and parents he had Monday on Senate Bill 3, creating education savings accounts.
"My tone and approach yesterday were out of line and I'm sorry for engaging in a heated debate with that group," Huffines said, "however I will not apologize for defending a policy that will benefit students, parents and schools in the State of Texas."
Monday was Texas PTA Rally Day at the Capitol where parents, educators and students traveled to Austin to talk with lawmakers about legislation and funding.
Senator Huffines was meeting with parent and students when the conversation became heated as they discussed SB3.
SB3 would divert money from public schools into education savings accounts that students can use to attend private or charter schools. Supporters of the bill say the money follows the child and add this ensures children have "school choice". Opponents, however, refer to the accounts as "vouchers" and say they will take money away from the state's already underfunded schools.
One of the students pointed out to the vouchers would not be enough to send students from low-income to some private schools and asked Senator Huffines about their situations.
"You want to give them a full tuition? That is the most selfish thing I've ever heard," said Huffines.
A parent in the room recorded the exchange and told KVUE News the entire conversation was contentious.
"I am passionate about school choice because school choice focuses on the students. And the adults in the room yesterday and the PTA liberal activists were making a case for bureaucrats and buildings over the students," Huffines added Tuesday. "I will agree with the Richardson ISD Superintendent, the students in the room, which was maybe a quarter of the audience, was generally polite and well behaved. I wish I could say the same for the adults."
"But no matter how disappointed those students maybe were yesterday in my actions, it doesn't compare to how disappointed a student is going to feel when they're trapped in a failing school system and they need to get out of it."
© 2017 KVUE-TV