At an elementary school outside of Houston, Texas, Principal Shanna Swearingen is apologizing for what she considered a joke. It wasn't funny and some parents are calling for her resignation.
Swearingen, who presides over the students at Ponderosa Elementary School, was discussing an African-American special needs student, who has a habit of running out of class, when she told staff the next time he ran:
We won't chase him. We will call the police and tell them he has a gun so they can come faster.
After hearing about the awful comment, parents were rightfully upset. One parent, Jessica Spoonemoore had this to say:
It's disgusting. That kind of comment is disgusting even if it was a joke how could you recant something like that? Children are getting killed by gun violence and that was very unnecessary and disturbing especially for an elementary school.
Social media reactions have echoed the sentiment.
@Lollardfish That’s nothing to joke about and as an educator he/ she knows that. They need to be removed from their job ~ period!— Gail Koday (@Gail Koday)1525271445.0
As this tweet accelerates, I want to note that this is not a Texas story. The abuse of disabled kids, black kids, a… https://t.co/vkVI8XjYDz— David M. Perry (@David M. Perry)1525261799.0
Abuse of brown kids in special ed programs is a huge problem no one is willing to address--here in MN, they make up… https://t.co/eWJ7gPACyc— Lisa Braun Dubbels (@Lisa Braun Dubbels)1525273936.0
Swearingen has not spoken to media but did issue a public apology.
Your children mean the world to me, and I'm heartbroken that my thoughtless remark has caused disruption to the hard work underway here at Ponderosa. Here in our community, we had a hard year with Hurricane Harvey, and the damage it caused to a large part of our neighborhood. I was so proud of the unity seen in this community during the recovery efforts.
Please know that the same commitment and drive that I had to make things right for our children after the storm, I have today as I work to make things right now with both staff and parents.
"I am truly sorry for the comment I made. It does not in any way reflect the love and care I have for the students of Ponderosa.
Not everyone was willing to accept the apology.
@Lollardfish Here in Houston, we've used Hurricane Harvey as an excuse for a lot of things, but this is a new one.— Not Trying To Help ☠ (@Not Trying To Help ☠)1525276657.0
@Lollardfish For her to say it doesnt reflect the care she has for students is enraging. She cares so little that… https://t.co/wfJR8GuuC0— Amanda Singh (@Amanda Singh)1525266984.0
@Lollardfish She wouldn't be putting just the one student in danger she but every black man/child in the vacinity.… https://t.co/e3hKNBFVGj— Joey Fat-One (@Joey Fat-One)1525271922.0
Parents and social media aren't the only ones speaking out. The Spring Independent School District issued the following statement:
While the comment was made in jest, it was inappropriate and should never have been made. That point has been thoroughly communicated to Ponderosa's principal who actually self reported the incident to the district ― taking full accountability for the inappropriateness of the comment. Ponderosa's principal has also apologized to her school community.
The district will continue to monitor the school climate at Ponderosa to ensure that incidents like this do not occur again.
The fate of Swearingen is still unknown. The district will not discuss disciplinary action.