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'No One Will Victimize Our Sons': Parents Bash Aledo ISD For 'Watered Down' Response To Slave Trade

Three people, l-r, a Black woman with black hair wearing glasses, next to another Black woman with white hair, next to a Black man, wearing glasses, as he looks at them to his right.
Bill Zeeble
/
KERA News
(From the left) Tamara Lawrence and Mioshi Johnson, parents of the bullied Aledo ISD students, stand with Eddie Burnett, president of Parker County's NAACP talking to reporters in the school district's administration building. The women's t-shirts show a screen shot of the slave-trade social media site that targeted their kids and used racial slurs.

Parents of the targeted children say the letter informing others in the district about the racial bullying lacked harsh truths that need to be told.

Parents of children who were subjected to racist bullying by classmates at a suburban Fort Worth school are demanding changes.

A group of students at mostly white Daniel Ninth Grade Campus in Aledo set up a so-called “slave trade” of Black classmates on Snapchat.

Parents spoke out about it at Aledo ISD's school board meeting Thursday night.

Mioshi Johnson's son was one of the students targeted in the mock slave auction that frequently used racial slurs.

"No one will victimize our sons,” Johnson said. “They’re not victims. They were targets of racism. They were targets of a hate crime, and a racially charged incident.”

After the Snapchat post was discovered, Johnson and another parent, Tamara Lawrence, talked with school leaders who promised to send a tough letter to parents about the incident. Lawrence said she was disappointed by the letter that eventually went out.

“We asked that a firm stance be taken in order to let the community know that this is occurring, and to not just water it down for something that it wasn’t," Lawrence said. "What happened is it was watered down.”

In a letter to parents Aledo ISD's Susan K. Bohn said it was made clear to the students involved "conduct that targets a student because of his or her race" is prohibited and has a profound impact on the victims.

"Using inappropriate, offensive and racially charged language and conduct is completely unacceptable and is prohibited by district policy," the letter said. "We made a formal determination that racial harassment and cyber bullying had occurred and assigned disciplinary consequences in accordance with our policy and the Student Code of Conduct."

Parker County NAACP President Eddie Burnett says those who took part in the racist act must be held accountable.

“I see what happened as a part in dehumanizing people that are different,” Burnett said. “Because once you dehumanize people, then you can think of them as not people. And then you can justify to yourself whatever you do to them.”

Burnett and others say what happened here isn't an isolated incident.

Twice in the same school year a noose was found in Weatherford High School. And in recent weeks, Plano ISD, in Collin County, disciplined middle school students who bullied and used racial slurs against a classmate.

Got a tip? Email Reporter Bill Zeeble at bzeeble@kera.org. You can follow him on Twitter @bzeeble.

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