A few dozen parents, preachers and community leaders stood in the summer heat of the Dallas Independent School District headquarters parking lot on Thursday, demanding change.
"DISD we are saying, in your parking lot, that we give you a failing grade when it comes to Black lives," Reverend Dr. Fredrick Haynes of Friendship-West Baptist Church said. "You cannot use our taxes to engage in bullying tactics."
The district sued the family of 7-year-old former DISD student Trent Smith after his mother, Angela Bolton-Smith, refused to let DISD test her son for autism. Dallas ISD said it does not comment on pending litigation.
"Trent Smith is my kid and my responsibility," Bolton-Smith told the crowd. "I'm not just fighting for my Black boy, I'm fighting for all the black and brown children."
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Studies show, across the country, Black children are disproportionately diagnosed with disabilities that can set them up for failure later in life.
"We're not going to allow your system to continue to misdiagnose us, to test us in order to limit us. We're not going to let you define us so you can confine us," Haynes said. "But we are rising up and saying, get your knee off our neck!"