Teacher raises issues of racism, bullying with Slaton school board

Published: May. 10, 2023 at 8:17 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - One teacher has asked the school board to address issues of racism and bullying that he says students face constantly in the halls of Slaton ISD.

Kenyon Andrews spoke out about incidents he’s witnessed during his time with the district and says a disconnect between board members and student families is only exacerbating the problem.

Slaton ISD held a mandatory staff development meeting in January where staff members were asked how they felt about the district’s response to issues of racism.

That meeting stemmed from allegations of racism by a student’s family that made national headlines last year.

“I was prepared to just say, ‘Hey, I feel like the ball may have been dropped,’” Andrews said. “The immediate tone that was taken was that, well, the students didn’t do anything wrong, because it was done in a joking manner and they’re friends.”

Andrews said it’s that mentality that prevents the district from properly addressing the issues at hand.

“There’s a huge disconnect that I have noticed, not just in one locale, but across the district,” Andrews said. “It is something that is still continuing to happen. We’re not taking ownership of it, of, hey, we have a problem.”

It’s a problem Andrew says some kids are forced to deal with repeatedly in the classroom.

“When you are hearing students, not just who look like me, but other students as well, are expressing their pain,” Andrews said. “Also they’re expressing their discontent with how it’s being handled, but the issues that they’ve experienced for several years, and it’s...it’s not being handled appropriately.”

Andrews believes that can change over time and with the help of every board member, teacher and parent.

“I want us to be a community,” Andrews said. “Come to the table and bare all of the good, all of the bad, and just lay it as it is. Then we can go hey, how can we build a better educational environment.”

The superintendent at Slaton ISD wasn’t available for comment, but says she is willing to have a conversation about the work the district is doing to serve all of its students.

As for Andrews, he has not received any offers to continue teaching at Slaton ISD next year, but he will continue to pursue what he calls his purpose as an educator.