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Parents demand action from Aledo ISD after racist social media posts

RADIO.COM logo RADIO.COM 4/16/2021 Alan Scaia
a close up of a hand holding a remote control: Parents demand action from Aledo ISD after racist social media posts © Provided by KRLD Radio Dallas Parents demand action from Aledo ISD after racist social media posts

Parents of two Aledo ISD students have given a list of demands to the school board, saying the district must make changes to address concerns about racism and how the district responded.

Last month, parents say they saw screenshots of a discussion on Snapchat among a group of students. They say the students called their kids racial slurs and also talked about how much they would pay to buy African American classmates.

a close up of a hand holding a remote control © Provided by KRLD Radio Dallas

"We are concerned about their protection and well being," said one of the parents, Tamara Lawrence. "We want for their lives to be productive."

Lawrence and Mioshi Johnson spoke at an emergency school board meeting Thursday night. The board was meeting to discuss COVID response, but they spoke during the public comment period.

"As disgusted and infuriated as we were, we still set aside, for our community and the safety of our sons, an opportunity for the school to get it right," Johnson said.

They say Aledo ISD did not take action immediately. Instead, they say the district sent an email to parents that "watered down" what had happened.

"The email, wrapped in a nice, Aledo, tiny bow, said, 'cyber-bullying' and 'harassment,'" Johnson said.

Johnson and Lawrence say the district did not take firm action until the case gained attention from media. The superintendent of Aledo ISD, Susan Bohn, called the claim "not accurate."

"We said we do not tolerate racially charged language, and that was stated in that letter," she said. "This was a group of students who engaged in misconduct; it was incredibly egregious. That letter did not just call it, 'cyber bullying.' It called it what we call it in our student code of conduct. It was determined pretty quickly to be an act of racial harassment and cyber bullying, and we communicated that."

Bohn said the response was "swift and severe," but she has not detailed punishment against any students involved.

"This incident was absolutely in violation of our policies and was absolutely unacceptable," she said.

Johnson and Lawrence gave the district a list of demands, saying Aledo ISD should require diversity training. They say they plan to continue speaking at board meetings; the next is scheduled Monday.

"I challenge you to take one more look at our demands. At this time, they are no longer suggestions," Johnson said.

The board did not have an action item on the agenda. Bohn said Aledo ISD would work with the "entire community" to develop a way to move forward with potential training for staff and students.

"It is not something that happens in a day. It is something that has to be worked on together so the expectations of the community are borne out in it," she said.

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