A North Texas mom says a school did not do enough to punish a coach accused of mocking her son over text message to other students.
Jakie Aparicio says her 17-year-old son, Lucas, learned about the group text exchange from another student.
“It hurts. You try to protect your kids and make sure that they’re not part of this,” said Aparicio.
Aparicio shared screen grabs that show a conversation between Coach Michele Housden and some of the students on the Princeton High School soccer team.
There’s a discussion about “pretty boy Luke” and prom. Coach Housden chimed in with a text that said, “That kid is a woman on twitter, makes me want to [vomit Emoji].”
The exchange continues with one student asking what Housden thinks of the boy’s rapping videos.
Housden responds with a meme, featuring rapper Lil’ Wayne and the words, “Last name talent first name zero.”
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“I think what hurts the most is she didn’t diffuse the situation, she didn’t put a stop to it,” said Aparicio.
“She’s the one that sets the example for all of our kids especially because my son is a senior,” said Aparicio. “He’s fixing to go out into the real world and she didn’t do her job at all.”
Princeton ISD Superintendent Philip Anthony said the district can’t discuss the discipline of a teacher, but said policy requires teachers include parents on any text exchanges. He says policy also limits digital communication between students and teachers to extracurricular and school business.
Anthony added the exception is if the teacher and student have a separate relationship, like being from the same family. Even then, a parent must acknowledge communication is allowed.
Aparicio says she wanted to know why Housden was allowed to keep her job. She shared her side of the story on Facebook, which set off a heated debate.
Initially when contacted by NBC 5, Housden said that the text messages weren’t about anyone in particular and that the screen grabs were missing information. She also contacted a school resource officer about feeling concerned for her safety.
On Thursday, an attorney for Housden said the text messages were a mistake and she was sorry. Housden’s lawyer provided a photo of a letter of reprimand from the school, issued after a five-day paid suspension to investigate the text messages.
He also said Housden is leaving her position for other reasons at the end of the school year. Housden told NBC 5 she was cutting back on the long commute to Princeton.
Some parents of students on the girls soccer team insisted Housden was punished enough and they support the coach.
“She’s not a bully,” said mother Juanita Carillo. “She made a negative statement.”
“We do apologize. I wish him well. I hope to see him in college doing something great. It’s your senior year, enjoy it,” said Carillo.
Carillo’s daughter, Iris, was on the text exchange and said the coach often communicates with the team through text because the teammates and coach have a tight bond. The controversy, some team members said, has taken a toll on the rest of the team.
“In no form is it ever ok for a teacher to talk about other students to students,” said Elizabeth Scrivner, a licensed professional counselor who is not treating anyone involved in this situation.
Scrivner said there is an opportunity to move forward in a positive way.
“There’s not one person I know of that wants to live their reality, their actions all the time like this in public,” said Scrivner. “We’re going to give grace, we’re going to set precedence, we’re going to set boundaries and we’re going to determine what that looks like.”
She says it’s important to empower young people to stand up for what’s right and redirect the conversation if it turns toward bullying.
“The kids need to hear this was too far. Sometimes, I know better than maybe an adult and I need to make a different choice on the text,” explained Scrivner.
She says she tells her own kids to be straight forward. If they hear something that doesn’t feel right, she teaches kids to redirect in simple and straightforward language, “Let’s stop talking about this person. Change the subject.”