Lubbock-Cooper ISD facing accusations of racism over social media page

Published: Apr. 28, 2022 at 11:20 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - A Lubbock-Cooper middle school is facing continued accusations of racism.

Some parents at Laura Bush Middle School claim their kids have been victims of racial slurs and mistreatment, but Lubbock Cooper Superintendent Keith Bryant says in his time with the district, racism has not been an issue. He says not one time has a parent approached him about a racial situation that was out of hand.

“We work really hard to maintain a culture of inclusivity among all races,” Bryant said. “We’ve had some situations that have come up like that in the past, but they have never risen to my level. Not one time has a parent approached me in my eight years saying there is a problem with a racial situation that’s out of hand. Not one time.”

Emotions were high at T.J. Patterson Library on Thursday night, with some parents holding back tears as they spoke about what their students had gone through. Parents indicated that a boiling point had been reached and they say change is needed.

“It just amazes me that it’s 2022 and we’re still dealing with this,” one parent said.

The outcry started with a social media profile that has now been taken down, calling the children animals.

It contained photos of children with the caption: “Send pics of monkeys.”

Some parents in this open meeting said their kids come home sad and confused.

“My kids, I got to explain to them racism. They never had to deal with it,” one parent said.

Another says she often has to console her daughter when she comes home.

“She comes home and she says mom this happened. I don’t know what to do,” the mother said. “‘What do I do? How do I go about doing things?’”

Others claiming those same students hurling racial slurs have come to their homes to torment their children further.

“It’s to the point that our kids are going to school and they don’t feel safe,” another parent said. “They’re coming home and I’ll be damned if they don’t feel safe.”

Others parents are worried about the future.

“I have two girls at Cooper High,” one woman said. “They’re like, ‘Mom,’ about my little daughter that just went out of here, ‘I don’t know about you putting her in these schools out here. I don’t think you should let her grow up in these schools out here.’”

One parent called for a change in leadership at Laura Bush Middle School, saying this issue is not being addressed by those in charge.

“That’s something I’d like to see change,” one father said. “Because it’s either that, or I gotta take my kids back to Colorado. I don’t want my kids to endure that type of environment.”

Another said her child was initially excited about attending Laura Bush, but she received multiple warnings about the district.

“She was excited about going to Cooper,” the mother said. “But at the same time I had people in my ear telling me you gotta watch Cooper. This is what’s going on at Cooper, but what I did is sit back and prayed about it and asked the Lord not to let this happen to my child. I just hope this is being resolved the right way, and we get peace and we get justice because this is not right. We shouldn’t have to go through this.”

Emotions were high as parents exchanged stories about things that had happened to their children. Some were angry, Some were sad and many were simply at a loss.

“If you have a nerve to put on someone’s page ‘if you know a monkey, post a monkey.’ I didn’t get that. I didn’t get that.” one mother said.

Superintendent Bryant tells KCBD the district is actively seeking the perpetrators behind the Instagram account in question, saying the district has conducted 40 hours of interviews with students.

If the district finds them, Bryant says they will be severely punished.

The superintendent says the district has also asked its black teachers and staff to meet with students to share their stories and their perspectives.

He says the district has done all it can to “lock down” the social media incident at Laura Bush Middle School, and will continue to fight bigotry in all its forms.

Bryant tells KCBD a meeting with The 100 Black Men of West Texas is in the works after he and leader Reggie Dial agreed to one earlier this week.

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