Black leaders call for reforms in Fort Worth ISD after officials launch investigation into video
Pastors in Fort Worth’s Black community gathered April 28 to express outrage and call for reforms in the wake of a video showing students laughing at the use of the n-word.
On the same day, Fort Worth ISD launched an investigation into a recorded incident where a student used a racial slur nine times in a class at Paschal High School, 3001 Forest Park Blvd. The community leaders said the district’s actions so far were seriously lacking.
Superintendent Kent Scribner said he planned to fire the teacher, who has not been publicly identified. The video showed the teacher appearing to endorse the student’s presentation and not acting when the rest of the class laughed loudly at the repeated use of the slur.
“I am disgusted by the inexcusable behavior that took place in a Paschal High School classroom. There is no place for this kind of language in our society, much less in our schools. I am appalled by the conduct of the adult in the room and saddened by the message that it sends to our students,” Scribner said in a statement.
Outside of Paschal High School, the Rev. Michael Bell, spokesman for the Tarrant County Local Organizing Committee, and other Fort Worth religious leaders laid out a list of actions the group said the district needed to do. The demands included:
- Release demographic data of the school, staff and its Advanced Placement classes.
- Offer racial sensitivity training for staff.
- Provide counseling for students.
The student used the racial slur during an AP class, Bell said.
School districts report the demographics of students in AP classes to the Texas Education Agency. The most recent data is from the 2019-20 school year.
Since 2011, most Paschal students in AP classes have been Latino. White students have consistently been the second-largest group in AP courses. In the 2019-20 academic year, more than 61% of students in these classes were Latino.
That same year, Black students represented 6% of AP students at the school. That amounts to 70 students. In the past decade, the record number of Black students in AP classes was 100 in the 2014-15 school year.
Paschal High School had 2,301 students enrolled in the last academic year. Nearly 53% of students were Latino, and 26.5% were white. The school had 139 Black students — just under 13% of its enrollment.
Last year, Paschal High School had 141 teachers. Most of them — 73% — were white. Only 13 teachers were Black.
In a separate press conference outside Mount Rose Baptist Church, 2864 Mississippi Ave., the Rev. Kyev Tatum, president of Ministers of Justice Coalition of Texas, called for the federal government to start a civil rights investigation into racism inside Fort Worth ISD.
Tatum also called for district administrators to fire the Paschal High School principal, Troy Langston. Tatum described the principal as attempting to sweep the video under the carpet.
Bell and other community leaders noted this incident occurred just weeks away from the scheduled start of the trial for Aaron Dean, a former Fort Worth police officer who shot and killed Atatiana Jefferson in her home during a late-night welfare check.
“As we approach the time of reckoning for the senseless murder of Atatiana Jefferson, Fort Worth can ill afford further racial division,” Bell said. “In this tense, racial sensitive environment, the chasm is not narrowing — it’s widening.”
Jacob Sanchez is an enterprise journalist for the Fort Worth Report. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or via Twitter. At the Fort Worth Report, news decisions are made independently of our board members and financial supporters. Read more about our editorial independence policy here.