Shanna Swearingen, the principal at Ponderosa Elementary School, has apologized after she joked that she would tell police a black student with special needs had a gun.
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Swearingen commented on a boy with special needs who reportedly has a history of behavioral problems and a tendency to run out of class.
Swearingen said that the next time the boy runs out of class, “We won’t chase him. We will call the police and tell them he has a gun so they can come faster.”
The principal's comment was overheard, and word spread through a local Facebook group, angering parents.
The boy's guardian, who hadn’t heard about it, was contacted by KPRC2, according to the station. He now reportedly has a meeting scheduled with the school.
Swearingen apologized in a letter to parents:
"It is with a heavy heart that I write this message. As many of you may be aware, KPRC ran a story late yesterday about Ponderosa Elementary and an incident that occurred last week where I made an insensitive comment that was not reflective of who I am nor how much I care about every student who attends this school.
"Your children mean the world to me, and I’m heartbroken that my thoughtless remark has caused disruption to the hard work underway here at Ponderosa. Here in our community, we had a hard year with Hurricane Harvey, and the damage it caused to a large part of our neighborhood. I was so proud of the unity seen in this community during the recovery efforts.
"Please know that the same commitment and drive that I had to make things right for our children after the storm, I have today as I work to make things right now with both staff and parents.
"I am truly sorry for the comment I made. It does not in any way reflect the love and care I have for the students of Ponderosa."
Shanna Swearingen, Principal
Ponderosa Elementary School"
Michael Burnett, the PTA president, said the comment doesn't align with Swearingen’s character.
“I don’t believe that it’s fair for people to take to social media on something that is hearsay,” he said. “I think the best thing would have been to come to her and ask the question.”
The principal has been awesome. She broke her back during Hurricane Harvey and worked in homes of all races,” he added.
Some are pushing for disciplinary action that includes special needs and sensitivity training.
"It's disgusting. That kind of comment is disgusting even if it was a joke how could you recant something like that?" parent Jessica Spoonemore said. "Children are getting killed by gun violence and that was very unnecessary and disturbing especially for an elementary school."
"It's probably going down racial lines whether we want it to or not. I think it speaks to more of what we have going on in our country as much as it is going on at this school, but some action needs to be taken," parent Christopher Mitchell said.
The school released a statement, saying, "while the comment was made in jest, it was inappropriate and should never have been made."
On Wednesday, Superintendent Rodney E. Watson said "strong disciplinary action has been taken" against Swearingen, but details would not be disclosed as per district policy.
"As an African-American male and father, I understand the concern we are seeing around the careless and inappropriate comment that was made by our Ponderosa Elementary principal," said Watson in the statement, which was obtained by BuzzFeed News.
"As a diverse school district serving a student population that is 46 percent Hispanic and 40 percent African-American, my top priority is ensuring the dignity, respect, and safety for all our students," said Watson.
I used basically the same headline that has been portrayed on social media to make a point. The headline of every article regarding this story specifically calls out the student’s race and disability; however, the principal’s joke had nothing to do with those attributes.
“Tell them he has a gun so they come faster” is an obvious reference to school shootings.
There has to come to a point where this nonsense stops. The marches and the kids screaming for gun control. It is ridiculous. If this principle had actually gone through with such a horrific lie, it would have put that poor child in serious harm's way.
I recall one of the Parkland Student’s screaming “he wouldn’t have harmed that many students with a knife”, in regards to the shooter. In 2014 there was a stabbing in a train station in China that killed 29 and wounded 130. The Parkland shooting left 17 dead. Banning guns will not stop murderers.
Please tell me how you feel about the push for gun control? Leave your comment below.
<b>By: Lexy </b>
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