A Texas school district is under fire after students created a social media group chat where students were pretending to bid on Black classmates, the group was labeled with a racial slur and the word “auction.”
The Aledo Independent School District now says it has disciplined students for the group. A parent of a student mentioned in the group confirmed a screenshot was sent to their son according to WFAA 8.
District Superintendent Dr. Susan Bohn sent parents a email Monday afternoon stating, “There is no room for racism or hatred in the Aledo ISD, period.”
The statement went on to say the chat involving students from the Daniel Ninth Grade Campus and the district determined “racial harassment and cyberbullying had occurred and assigned disciplinary consequences in accordance with our policy and the Student Code of Conduct.”
A screenshot displays the group name being changed from “Slave Trade” with emojis of a Black man, a gun and a white police officer to “[racial slur] Farm” and then “[racial slur] Auction” with people bidding $100 on one student and $1 on another according to news station.
“My reaction is, ‘What, again? Again?’ How many times we got to go through this?” Eddie Burnett, the president of the Parker County NAACP told WFFA 8. “‘It’s just kids. They’re just playing. They don’t know any better.’ Well damn, teach them better.”
Jo Jessup a parent of 9th grade in the district says an email sent last week by the school’s Principal Carolyn Ansley described “an incident of cyberbullying and harassment” and wasn’t clear.
“Part of the issue is parents were really upset that the original memo that came out said nothing about racism,” Jessup said.
She says there are some questions to answer and believes the district could use sensitivity training.
“Talk to your kids and use these incidents as learning tools to discuss,” she said. “We as a community need to come together.”
“I think the school’s least responsibility is to teach racial justice and sensitivity,” Burnett said. “If you’re not teaching and leading by example that it’s wrong, then you’re tacitly telling somebody that it’s OK.”
He says after a pattern of incidents in the county, it’s clear the problem is bigger than a few students at the school.
“’This is not who we are. It doesn’t represent us.’ Uh, well, yeah, it does,” he said. “It does because there’s something in the environment.”