By Melissa McCaghren
The Slaton Independent School District approved a resolution of no toleration of racism, harassment or bullying at SISD Thursday evening (Jan. 5) during a special meeting at the Administration office.
The resolution passed 6-0, with Trustee Greg Schilling absent from the meeting. It was the only agenda item and only one voted on in the meeting. Trustee Kara Newcomb read the resolution.
In it, the Board of Trustees states it “publicly condemns any acts of students or staff who might use racial slurs, harass or bully students.”
It also stated it expected all SISD students to have a safe environment, would continue in attempts to create a non-hostile environment for students and affirming a zero tolerance policy in the District for said behavior.
In the resolution, it states a history of assemblies and other events, such as freshman orientation, conducted to show the students the consequences of using slurs, racial hate speech and other derogatory language.
Items such as creating QR codes around campus monitored by the Multiple Tiered Systems of Support to report bullying and counseling personnel were also listed.
The resolution reads in May 2022 a student used a racial slur and was disciplined, with penalties ranging from immediate office referral to three days in school suspension.
Aug. 19, the administration also conducted a school wide assembly, stating that the use of racial slurs warranted an “immediate three days of mandatory ISS.”
It was done again Sept. 14.
The Resolution reported between Aug. 16 and Dec. 5, 2022 there were “14 discipline referrals for racial slurs turned into the office and investigated.” It added “100 percent those cases ended with three days mandatory ISS.”
The resolution stated the first time the Board heard from the public a complaint of the use of racial slurs at Slaton High School was Nov. 10, which lead to a change in penalties.
“On Nov. 10, 2022, the Board, for the first time, heard from citizens and a student that the use of racial slurs was being used at Slaton High School,” it read.
“Thereafter, on Nov. 15, 2022, the Administration team reviewed the consequences of racial slurs, hate speech and derogatory language and it was determined that the consequences would be increased for the first incident to five days of ISS. A second incident would result in 10 days of ISS and a third incident would result in 30 days of (Disciplinary Alternative Education Program).”
The change in disciplinary penalties was announced to the students Nov. 28.
The resolution read from then until the date of the resolution, “there have been no complaints regarding the use of racial slurs, harassment, hate speech or derogatory language.”
An entire SISD training on the prevention of racial slurs and other issues was conducted Jan. 3, 2023.
The resolution was approved after an hour and a half closed session meeting, which followed Texas governmental Code 551.071 regarding consultation with an attorney in regard to legal issues or a matter in which the duty of the attorney to the governmental body under the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct of the State Bar of Texas clearly conflicts with the chapter.
SISD along with Lubbock Cooper ISD were part of two Civil Rights complaints filed against the Districts Dec. 12.
Students and families at both schools, along with the Lubbock NAACP and non-profit Civil Rights Organization Intercultural Development Research Association, filed the complaints to the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights.
They were filed for alleged violations of Title VI of the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
A copy of this resolution can be found online at SISD’s website www.slatonisd.net, or at the Administration office, 140 E. Panhandle St.
The SISD Board of Trustees will conduct their regular monthly meeting tonight (Jan. 12) at the Administration office.
(Editor’s note: minor changes were made to quoted content to fit AP style, such as abbreviating the months on dates.)