By ROYCE WEST
When is a game, not a game? The answer: When it is designed to harass, intimidate and bully others targeted by a characteristic they cannot change, like their race.
What occurred recently wasn’t a game. It was a hurtful and harmful display of inappropriate, racially charged, offensive language and images that once again illustrates that we have much work to do. Unfortunately, racism is alive and well in North Central Texas, that again has raised its ugly head of hate at this point in time. And sadly, it was generated by students in Aledo, Texas.
The ninth grader students thought it was entertaining to mimic a slave trade and auction off their classmates, virtually. I’m thankful that the reaction by Aledo ISD administrators began swiftly and continues today.
There is no time for excuses. And I’m encouraged by the fact that Aledo ISD Superintendent Susan Bohn and her team began a targeted investigation once the incident was discovered. I’ve spoken with Bohn and have been assured that they have initiated measures to discipline the offending students. I’ve committed myself to working with Aledo ISD and others to address and re-educate the culture that would make the students think that their behavior was appropriate. Racism is not innate. It’s learned.
I understand the outrage of the parents of the impacted/targeted students. I join them in their frustration. So much of what is going on can’t be outlined in detail because of privacy laws. But be assured, we should and will continue to advocate for the students damaged by incidents like this. And, let’s call it what it is, HATE!
Sen. Royce Barry West is a member of the Texas Senate representing the Dallas-based 23rd District. He is currently in the Democratic primary runoff for the 2020 United States Senate election in Texas.