A Texas school attempted to keep a recent incident quiet, but that became impossible when a video of the incident went viral.
At Sartartia Middle School, a group of students gathered during their free class period to draw with sidewalk chalk on the school's front sidewalk.
They drew colorful doodles, including a variety of LGBTQ+ pride flags. They also wrote some of the flag's names, such as "Lesbian," "Transgender," "Demi-sexual," "Pansexual" and "Asexual."
One parent who was present at the time of the incident claimed a teacher approached the students and demanded they erase their drawings.
When the group refused, the teacher threatened to pour water over the art before defacing it instead.
The parent anonymously reported:
"[She] lost control."
"The teacher threatened to pour a drink on the chalk art."
"Finally [she] grabbed some chalk and wrote 'Heteros Rule' over the Pride flags."
Right after the teacher wrote this across the sidewalk art, someone began recording a video that later went viral.
No one's face is visible in the video, only feet and the defaced art, but the voices are clear.
You can watch the news coverage with the video here:
When the students balked at the teacher's actions, the teacher responded:
"Your sign is as bad as mine."
"You all put yours on the sidewalk and offended me, so now I'm gonna offend you, but did that fix anything?"
"The point was, you don't have to fly the flags if this is an inappropriate place. Because nobody's flying these flags at school."
The students tried to defend themselves, to which the teacher insisted:
"I'm the adult, you're the child, so listen to what this adult says, and you won't get in trouble."
"The words made it inappropriate."
"None of you can disappear, and if you try me, I'll hunt you down and make it worse, okay?"
"If you clean it up, we'll act like it never happened."
The parent who was present later said this could have easily been a learning opportunity for everyone involved, but it instead became a disparaging and menacing encounter.
And instead of Texas' Sartartia Middle School taking a note from this parent and using this as a learning opportunity for their school district, they instead tried to dodge the incident, prior to the video going viral.
An email was sent out by Sartartia Middle School Principal Cholly Oglesby, but it was surprisingly vague.
"We have been made aware of an unfortunate incident involving some of our students who reported an interaction with a teacher, which the students stated left them feeling disrespected and marginalized."
"Keeping in mind that the safety, health, and social and emotional well-being of our students and staff are always our top priority, we were extremely disheartened to hear about these allegations from members of the Sartartia Middle School community, as well as some of our feeder pattern high schools."
"It is my sincere goal to always maintain an atmosphere of honor, inclusion, support, and respect on our campus."
"Diversity in our community is to be met with a sense of mutual acknowledgment, understanding, and tolerance. I insist that campus leaders, classroom teachers, and students exhibit and model this type of behavior without exception."
"We are exploring opportunities to have a campus-wide event to dialog and foster better understanding, respect, and a healthy co-existence for all members of the Sartartia Middle School community."
Parents were more confused at the arrival of the email than illuminated.
Sonya Shernak, mother of a 7th grader, said:
"I thought it was a little vague."
Fellow parent, Kasia Derrickson, asked:
"What actually happened?"
Many online were disgusted with the video and called for the teacher to be fired.
@KPRC2 “accuse”. as if i don’t literally have video proof.— dr. eugene simp, u.s.d. (ultimate simp degree) (@dr. eugene simp, u.s.d. (ultimate simp degree)) 1620186649.0
@KPRC2 Should be fired— STAND UP & FIGHT ✊ (@STAND UP & FIGHT ✊) 1620202770.0
@GBBranstetter Fire them immediately.— Metal Gender is Metal MayGay 🤘🏳️⚧️🏳️🌈🇨🇦🔝 (@Metal Gender is Metal MayGay 🤘🏳️⚧️🏳️🌈🇨🇦🔝) 1620351688.0
The Texas school's principal made no mention of actions being taken in regards to the "incident" between the students and teacher and whether there would be consequences.
This doesn't seem like the way to hold someone accountable, especially given the disheartening nature of the video.