The Dallas Morning News
Parents demand change
Families of Aledo kids targeted in ‘Slave Trade’ chat say district ‘failed’
Parents of two Black students targeted in a “Slave Trade” on social media are demanding a change in the Aledo school district’s culture.
Mioshi Johnson and Tamara Lawrence spoke at Thursday’s board meeting describing
how their sons were “auctioned” off in a mock “Slave Trade” group created by their classmates over Snapchat. After not seeing immediate action to address such racially charged acts, the mothers told trustees they must act swiftly.
“Rest assured, we — our
families and our sons who were being put through this and now our community because of the stance that you all fail to take — feel that you all failed them,” Johnson said.
The mothers wore T-shirts
with a screenshot of the Snapchat group that was called “Slave Trade” among other names, some including racial slurs. One person typed in the group that they would spend $1 on a peer while another person offered $100 for someone else.
“It took my mind a moment to comprehend what I was seeing,” Lawrence told the board.
Lawrence said she was notified by Johnson of the screenshot on March 25 and the two met with the school district’s police chief the following day. Johnson said a group of baseball players created the group and were using racial slurs around her son, who was the only Black player on the team.
After meeting with the police chief, they met with the Daniel Ninth Grade Campus principal who notified the women that the students involved would not only miss that day’s baseball game but that their sons would not see the classmates at school for the remainder of the year.
The district has not released any information on what punishment the students received other than to note they were disciplined.
The Johnson and Lawrence families also met with Aledo Superintendent Susan Bohn to discuss the incident and relay a list of changes they would like to see.
The district needs staff and parent training on racism, inclusiveness and cultural sensitivity, the families said. They
also asked for the district to address racially charged behavior in the district’s code of conduct.
“We asked [Bohn] to release a statement as well,” Lawrence said. “She declined.”
At the meeting, Bohn noted she wasn’t going to respond to any assertions or argue. But she stressed that the actions of
the students were shocking and unacceptable, noting that’s not who the Aledo community is. District officials do not condone such behavior and know the trauma that it has caused the students and families affected, she said.
Change across the district must be a community-wide effort and can’t be accomplished
in one day, Bohn said.
“It is something that has to be worked on together so that the expectations of our community are borne out in it,” she said.
No action was taken from the board Thursday. The next Aledo ISD board of trustees meeting is on Monday.
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