The Dallas Morning News

Parents demand change

Families of Aledo kids targeted in ‘Slave Trade’ chat say district ‘failed’

- By BRAYDEN GARCIA Staff Writer brayden.garcia@dallasnews.com

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.

The DMN Education Lab

deepens the coverage and conversati­on about urgent education issues critical to the future of North Texas.

The DMN Education Lab is a community-funded journalism initiative, with support from The Beck Group, Bobby and Lottye Lyle, The Communitie­s Foundation of Texas, The Dallas Foundation, Dallas

Regional Chamber, Deedie Rose, The Meadows Foundation, Solutions Journalism Network, Southern Methodist University and Todd A. Williams Family Foundation. The Dallas Morning News retains full editorial control of the Education Lab’s journalism.

 ?? Tom Fox/staff Photograph­er ?? Parents visit with Aledo ISD police Chief Fred Collie (right) about a call to action after parents and supporters voiced their concerns about a student-led racist Snapchat group.
Tom Fox/staff Photograph­er Parents visit with Aledo ISD police Chief Fred Collie (right) about a call to action after parents and supporters voiced their concerns about a student-led racist Snapchat group.
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 ?? Tom Fox/staff Photograph­er ?? Parents and supporters showed their concern Thursday about a student-led racist Snapchat group during an Aledo ISD school board meeting. Some Aledo High School students were discipline­d after setting up the social media posting.
Tom Fox/staff Photograph­er Parents and supporters showed their concern Thursday about a student-led racist Snapchat group during an Aledo ISD school board meeting. Some Aledo High School students were discipline­d after setting up the social media posting.

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