The Collin County NAACP hosted a public teleconference Wednesday to address concerns about bullying within Plano Independent School District. This comes after a highly contentious case in which allegations of bullying are being investigated by both the district and local police.
The NAACP had three goals during the teleconference with Plano ISD leadership:
1. Give the community platform to ask questions and voice concerns.
2. Give Plano ISD an opportunity to provide answers and solutions.
3. Create and encourage community partnership.
District leadership accepted the invitation following demands for answers and transparency after the school district and Plano Police Department announced investigations into allegations of bullying against a Black middle school boy - in which the boy was said to have been forced to drink urine.
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While the specifics of the incident were not discussed during the teleconference, school leadership answered questions about racial disparity and proper protocol for reporting cases of bullying. In her first open-forum appearance since the bullying allegation, Superintendent Sara Bonser said the district was working to build relationships with Black students and other students of color as well as their families.
“It’s been an ongoing goal and priority to hire staff that resemble the students that we serve,” said Bonser.
The Political Action Chair for the Collin County NAACP challenged the district to become better allies for the Black and Brown community.
“It’s too much of a burden for that marginalized community to always be the one to speak up,” said Sherasa Thomas of the Anti-Defamation League.
The District admits there’s disciplinary action and suspension rates among Black and Latinx students have been disproportionate. Leaders say they’re working to correct that as well as make clear the proper protocol for reporting acts of bullying.