Open Letter to Texas School Superintendent

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18 February 2015

Dr. Kevin Rogers, Lewisville Independent School District Interim Superintendent

Flower Mound High School
3411 Peters Colony Road
Flower Mound, TX 75022

Dear Dr. Rogers,

Although I live far from Texas in Northern California, I am writing to you in reaction to the news stories reporting the abhorrent behavior of Flower Mound High School students at a varsity basketball game last Friday night. I could not get through my day without being interrupted by my emotions about what happened at the game, and the alleged grotesque vandalism of the Plano East School buses. I posted the story to my own Facebook page with a sarcastic and defeated rant about how can this still be happening, and questioned what kind of community of adults enables these kinds of outright racist acts by their children. Frankly, I am glad that the world was allowed to see this with its own eyes, and hope that maybe NOW some action can be taken to stamp out racism at the core, starting with your homes, LISD schools, and surrounding communities.

I read your statement posted on February 17, but I do not think it was strong enough in denouncing the behavior, even as the school district is doing the necessary investigations. You say, “We regret that this unfortunate event has been elevated to this level on so many social media circles.” I don’t think you should regret it at all; in fact, this is how you will be held accountable in starting to address the systemic racism your school community is facing, and ultimately, how to fix it. Starting with me, just some woman in California who read about it on Twitter, I am holding you accountable for facing the racism in the LISD with some courage, and charge you with a challenge to change it.

Discussion with my friends in that same Facebook thread suggest that you should start with the following:

  1. Suspension of the students involved
  2. Criminal investigation of the students involved (this will include property damage, and some civil rights violations as well)
  3. Letters of apology written by the students to the Plano East varsity basketball team, coaches, fans, and greater school community
  4. Mandatory and long-term racial and diversity training for the entire LISD, students, teachers and staff
  5. Events that bring school communities together in celebration

I am a former teacher. I work at a nonprofit in San Francisco. Maybe I am a bleeding heart liberal. Today though, my heart is broken.

May you find the grace and courage to create real and lasting change.

Sincerely,

Justine Hebron

 

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