School Daze

Texas teacher accused of harassing students with homophobic graffiti

Students at Sartartia Middle School in Fort Bend County, Texas have accused a teacher of homophobic harassment. Administrators for the school appear to have admitted the incident did occur, though it remains unclear if the teacher will face any disciplinary action.

KPRC 2 News reports that the incident occurred earlier this week.  A group of students had made chalk drawings of the pride flag and transgender flag on a sidewalk near the school. A teacher–who, at the time of this writing, remains unidentified–approached the students and ordered them to erase the flags. When they refused, he threatened to throw his drink on the drawings before grabbing some chalk and writing “Heteros Rule” over the art.

Following the encounter, Principal Cholly Oglesby sent out an email statement to parents.

“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,” Oglesby wrote. “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.”

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“It is my sincere goal to always maintain an atmosphere of honor, inclusion, support and respect on our campus,” she said.

KPRC further reports that the email left parents perplexed, as it avoided mentioning details, the teacher in question, or if the administration had decided to seek any kind of reprimand for the teacher.

“I thought it was a little vague,” Sonya Shernak, a parent of a 7th grader at the school, told the channel.

“What actually happened?” said Kasia Derrickson, another parent.

“This was an opportunity to have a productive conversation. Instead, the kids felt ridiculed and less than, and honestly, afraid because the teacher lost control,” another anonymous parent said.

With parents confused, the Fort Bend ISD issued another statement expanding on Principal Oglesby’s own.

“We are aware of a reported incident involving some of our students at Sartartia Middle School who report an interaction with a teacher, which the students stated left them feeling disrespected and marginalized,” it read. “We are following our protocols and procedures and are conducting an investigation. 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 school community. The District requires that an atmosphere of honor, inclusion, support and respect be fostered on all our campuses. As the issue involves a personnel matter, we cannot comment further.”