KCBD Investigates: TikTok videos say Slaton High School should be ‘shot up’ amid allegations of racism on campus
*THIS STORY HAS BEEN UPDATED WITH RESPONSES FROM THE SUPERINTENDENT
LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Slaton I.S.D. has notified families of threats of violence at the high school and a rally centered around allegations of racism on campus.
Slaton I.S.D. Superintendent Jim Andrus notified families of the threats this week, along with a change in the district’s schedule.
On Monday, Jan. 9, The district sent out a message that reads, “Our Board of Trustees and administrative team wish to honor our outstanding employees with an additional surprise break for students and staff by extending the MLK Holiday. Students will receive snack bags at dismissal on Wednesday and enjoy a 5-day weekend.”
The next day, the district sent out another notification confirming students would have Thursday and Friday off.
The superintendent said, “A rally publicized on social media will be held in Lubbock Thursday, focusing on recent issues at Slaton High School.”
The superintendent went on to say, “Individuals who are not yet known to us (but appear to be from out of town) have posted on Tik Tok that the high school should be shot up.”
Slaton ISD made national headlines last year when news surfaced of a federal complaint filed against Slaton I.S.D., Slaton High School, and Slaton Disciplinary Alternative Education.
All of these, the complaint claims, failed to prevent and respond appropriately to complaints of racial harassment, failed to train its educators and administrators on preventing, identifying, investigating, and remediating racial harassment, and engaged in discriminatory disciplinary practices.
KCBD had an interview arranged with Andrus, but when we arrived at the administration building, we were told he could no longer meet with us.
We had hoped to ask him about the sudden change in the district’s schedules and the threats of violence. We asked if we could reschedule the interview, but we were told to send our questions in writing to the superintendent.
Here are the questions we sent along with the responses we received from Andrus:
Did the district decide to extend the MLK Day holiday in response to the allegations of racism and/or tomorrow’s protest?
We have 3 truths that are working at the same time.
· We are celebrating our faculty and staff by dismissing school on Thursday and Friday in celebration of MLK Day. Our faculty is here tomorrow morning for some much needed staff development. All staff will be released at noon.
· There are a couple of rallies that have been advertised on Social Media to be held in Lubbock tomorrow, focusing on recent issues at Slaton High School.
· Individuals who are not yet known to us (but appear to be from out of town) have posted on Tik Tok that the high school should be shot up (indicating violence of various sorts).
Student safety is our number 1 priority in Slaton ISD.
What is the school doing in response to the Tik Tok videos advising Slaton High School should be “shot up”?
Our SISD Chief of Police has submitted the posts to the FBI in an attempt to identify those making the threats. We take threats to our students and staff seriously. We have had police officers on the high school campus all day and increased patrols for all other campuses.
What specifically has the district done to address the allegations of racism? Have you met with parents?
In May 2022, an all-student assembly was held with Principal Mario Aguirre highlighting student expectations for preventing use of racial slurs, racial hate speech, and derogatory language, including use of swear words. Consequences increase from an immediate office referral to three days in ISS. Thereafter, a student used a racial slur and was appropriately disciplined.
On August 11, 2022, in a freshman orientation for high school, expectations were outlined with parents and students regarding all manners of behavior, including bullying, hazing, name-calling, rumor spreading, threats, assault, taunting, teasing, and theft. The students were advised on how to report, including QR codes around the campus monitored by MTSS and an introduction of the administration team and counseling personnel to assure a safe place for all students.
On August 19, 2022, the administration hosted a school-wide assembly with all students detailing expectations for acceptable and unacceptable behaviors with all students and faculty regarding racial slurs. It was made very clear to everyone that the use of racial slurs warranted an immediate three days of mandatory ISS.
On September 14, 2022, administration had a second all-school assembly regarding safety concerns and once again discussed inappropriate racial slurs and the consequences that followed if students used racial slurs.
Between the time of August 16 and December 5, 2022, there were 14 discipline referrals for racial slurs turned into the office and investigated. One hundred percent of those cases ended in three days of ISS placement.
On November 10, 2022, the Board, for the first time, heard from citizens and a student that the use of racial slurs was being used at Slaton High School. Thereafter, on November 15,2022, the administration team reviewed the consequences of racial slurs, hate speech, and derogatory language and it was determined that the consequences would be increased for the first incident to five days of ISS. A second incident would result in 10 days of ISS and a third incident would result in 30 days of DAEP.
On Monday, November 28, 2022, the discipline increase was communicated to all high school students, and from that time until the present, there have been no complaints regarding the use of racial slurs, harassment, hate speech, or derogatory language.
On January 3, 2023, the entire staff had training on prevention of racial slurs, hate speech, bullying, and harassment and their consequences. The Board of Trustees and the staff and administration have a zero tolerance for racial harassment, bullying, and racial slurs. Once notified, immediate action will be investigated and implemented.
On December 13,, 2022 a video was sent to all parents and staff through the Remind 101 portal outlining the increased board approved discipline and discussing the zero tolerance policy for all students regarding racial slurs.
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