Carter in the classroom

Students of Color ‘Slave Traded' by Other Students in Online Game at Aledo School

Parents say districts response to the incident, and word choices fall significantly short

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Some parents in the Aledo Independent School District say the district has not done enough after it was discovered that a group of ninth-grade students pretended to buy and sell their Black peers in a SnapChat group called “Slave Trade,” that included labels with racial slurs and the words “auction” and “farm.”

Students at the Daniel Ninth Grade Campus were communicating on Snapchat and playing a "game" that put prices on children of color at the school and "trading" them.

"It makes me sick from the standpoint, 'Who do they think they are? What gives them the right to think they can do that to someone else?'" said Mark Grubbs, a father of three former Aledo ISD students.

In the game, one student was worth $100, while another was worth just $1 because students didn't like his hair.

"I was not shocked honestly because of the community we live in," Aledo ISD parent Ella Bullock said.

It hurt one student enough to tell school leaders, and even post about it online.

District leaders sent a note home to all parents, explaining that the students were disciplined. However, some parents were upset with how the note was written, as it didn't once use the word racism, but instead called the behavior "cyberbullying."

"Calling it cyberbullying rather than calling it racism ... that is the piece that really gets under my skin," Grubbs said.

"It softens the blow for those that may be uncomfortable with the conversation of racism," said Amber Leeper, a former middle school teacher who saw screenshots of the game.

Online, someone told school board member Forrest Collins it was a hate crime, not boys being boys. He wrote back that he agreed 100%.   

Aledo ISD Superintendent Susan Bohn issued a new statement that said racism and hatred had no place in the district, and they were making sure students of color feel loved.

"I'm still a bit disappointed with the email, it stops short of calling it hate speech," said Bullock, who added she loves Aledo ISD but major changes need to happen regarding racism.

Grubbs said the problem's bigger than this one instance. He pulled his three kids from the district.

"A lot of racism. My son being called out of his name and what not and it got to the point he didn't mind fighting and that didn't sit right with me and my wife," he said. "My son was never a fighter."

Parents are already planning to show up in force at the Aledo school board meeting next Monday to demand a stronger plan to address racism. 

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