McKinney High School’s principal apologized to one of the central figures in the 2015 McKinney pool party video after a teacher used the video as a case study in a criminal justice class at the teen’s school.
Dajerria Becton was 15 when video of her being pulled to the ground by then-Officer Eric Casebolt while breaking up a pool party in McKinney drew national attention. Now a senior at McKinney High School, Becton learned the video was a case study in a criminal justice lesson at her school last Friday. Becton was not a student in the class, but learned of the lesson afterward.
“She was kind of afraid of the backlash like from all her peers they were saying mean things like she was only doing this for money, that she deserved what happened to her, she should have left and things like that, bringing back the emotions that she had two years ago,” said Shashona Becton, Dajerria’s guardian.
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McKinney ISD told NBC 5 the district was not aware of the teacher’s plans to use the video, but asked her to stop after learning students discussed it during a criminal justice case study Friday morning. A McKinney ISD spokesman said a McKinney Police Officer was invited to be a guest speaker in the class, which discussed how police could have responded differently.
In a written statement, McKinney ISD Chief Communications and Support Services Officer Cody Cunningham said, “While we sincerely believe the teacher was using the video of the incident as a learning opportunity, she did not fully consider the sensitivity of the issue given that one or more of the students involved still attend McKinney High School.”
The district and principal apologized to Becton and her family on Friday.
Becton’s attorney, Kim Cole, and activist Dominque Alexander also met with the principal on Monday.
While Cole acknowledged the video is widely available and public, she said the family hoped the teacher would have talked to them before showing it in class.
“There is no way to shield her from this video, however for the school to put this video on display and have an officer there discussing it while she’s there on campus is terribly insensitive and the principal seemed to agree,” said Cole.
Becton and six other teens are suing the city and police department over the response to the pool party in 2015. Cole says she doesn’t expect any legal action against the school.
Shashona Becton says Dajerria does not want to see the video and didn’t want it shown in school. The family says the 2015 incident brought on intense scrutiny of the young teen and she’s concerned she’ll face a new wave of backlash.
“If they were going to use the video they could have given us a warning or even asked us if it’s okay if we play this video,” said Shashona Becton. “Not just asking myself, but asking Dajerria because she still has to deal with it.”
After the 2015 incident, Eric Casebolt resigned from the McKinney Police Department. A grand jury did not bring criminal charges against Casebolt.