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A Texas middle school teacher has been accused of defacing a chalk art mural featuring drawings of LGBTQ Pride flags and disrespecting the students who made the drawings.
According to a parent of one of the children involved in the incident, students at Sartartia Middle School, in Sugar Land, Texas, had been drawing on the courtyard sidewalk during their free period. Some of the chalk art included drawings of LGBTQ Pride flags.
The parent — who asked her identity be kept anonymous — told Houston-based NBC affiliate KPRC-TV her daughter and the other students were approached by a supervising teacher, who ordered them to erase the Pride flags. When the students refused, the parent says the teacher “threatened to pour a drink on the chalk art, and finally grabbed some peach-colored chalk and wrote ‘HETEROS RULE’ over the Pride flags.”
“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,” the complaining parent said.
Sartartia Middle School Principal Cholly Oglesby sent an email to parents, but did not describe what exactly happened, leaving some parents confused as to what occurred.
“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 in the email. “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,” she continued. “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.”
Oglesby also said the school is “exploring opportunities” to have a dialogue with students and teachers to “foster better understanding, respect, and a healthy co-existence” on campus.
Fort Bend Independent School District sent out its own statement responding to the incident, although it declined to comment on the teacher’s status, saying it could not comment further on personnel issues.
“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. We are following our protocols and procedures and are conducting an investigation,” the district’s email read.
“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 email continued. “The District requires that an atmosphere of honor, inclusion, support and respect be fostered on all our campuses.”
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