One week after a video of a Midlothian high school student repeatedly saying a racial slur went viral, parents are speaking out saying it’s just the latest sign of prejudice against African American students.
The Youtube video was the creation of several students. The district says it took swift action once it learned about it, sending letters to parents from both Midlothian High School Principal Gary Gates and Superintendent Lane Ledbetter.
According to the district, the video was not recorded during school hours or on school property.
“I want to address this issue the only way I know how – straight to the point. Any offensive, demeaning and inappropriate words, behaviors, comments or statements made by a student, teacher or staff member is unacceptable, and they will face swift and severe consequences,” wrote Ledbetter.
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A mother of two, who didn’t want to be identified to protect her family, said she’s glad the district addressed the issue but said there’s more that needs to be done.
She said her son regularly heard racial slurs tossed around the locker room when he was a football player at MHS. Now he’s graduated, but her daughter hears the same in her school. She said both have been physically threatened too.
“We strategically do not allow our kid to walk home. We strategically do not allow our kid to be at events by themselves,” she said.
Another family who wants to remain anonymous said the threats have become severe enough to force them out of town. The interracial couple moved their son to another district last year. After having their property vandalized, finding derogatory notes left on their car and hearing them from others in the community, they’re in the process of selling their home.
“We’re tired of it. No one should target us because of the color of our skin,” she said.
Still, some like the mother of two, choose to stay in hopes that the community she moved to nearly eight years ago will grow to be more accepting of all people.
“Take a stand against this. Stand with parents that care… Just help us unify this. It can be solved,” she said.
Wednesday a district spokesperson said they are aware some parents have made complaints related to racial tension over the last few years. They said each of those has been investigated by the schools’ principals. Federal education privacy laws, however, don’t allow them to release what if any disciplinary action followed.
In a statement they said, “As the events of last week unfolded, our MISD community was disheartened to see the actions of a few students making demeaning and derogatory statements about others. We will not tolerate any words or comments that disrespect groups or individuals, including racial remarks. One of our district’s core values is celebrating the power of diversity of our students, their families and community. Our mission is to prepare our students to be thriving global citizens who are empathetic, compassionate and servant leaders in their communities.”
That includes a new restorative discipline practice put into place last spring, which works to help students grow and make specific changes.
It also includes a cultural proficiency effort that trains campus leaders in managing, supporting and celebrating cultural differences within their schools.
MISD is unable to release what disciplinary actions the students who posted the viral video will face.