March 17: This story was updated to include information from the child’s family.
Plano school officials concluded their investigation into allegations of racist bullying and abuse involving students at Haggard Middle School — but they released no details.
A Plano mother reported to the school that her 13-year-old son, who is Black, was called racist slurs, beaten and made to drink his white classmates’ urine during a sleepover in February. The students recorded their actions and posted videos to social media, later sharing the clips during school.
The mother, Summer Smith, said she tried to get help from the district and when that failed, she posted the footage to Facebook with a plea for action, sparking horror in the school community and across the country.
An attorney representing Smith released a statement saying the district sent a letter to the family noting that “allegations of bullying and cyberbullying were SUSTAINED.” The letter did not disclose what consequences were handed out, said attorney Kim T. Cole.
District officials said in a news release Tuesday that their “investigation of this off-campus event has been thorough, has been done with the cooperation of all parties involved in this incident, and it is now complete.” But they did not share the specific findings nor any disciplinary actions taken as a result, citing student privacy laws.
“When an incident of bullying is confirmed, the district notifies the parents of the victim and of the student who engaged in bullying and promptly responds by taking appropriate disciplinary action in accordance with the Student Code of Conduct,” district officials wrote in a news release.
A separate investigation, which is being conducted by an outside firm, is ongoing. That probe is looking into allegations that a pattern of bullying preceded the recent sleepover.
“I remain resolute in my conviction that bullying, harassment, threats or acts of racism against any Plano ISD student are unacceptable and will not be tolerated,” Superintendent Sara Bonser said in a statement.
The Plano Police Department is also investigating what happened at the sleepover. The family of the boy wants it to be considered a hate crime.
Cole said referring to the attacks on the 13-year-old boy as “bullying” minimizes what he went through.
“The continued minimization of these horrific, violent, racially/sexually motivated hate crimes by referring to them as ‘bullying concerns’ is a slap in the face,” she said in a statement.
The district also announced Tuesday that it will work with a diversity advisory committee to develop a “comprehensive plan to address diversity, equity and inclusion.”
Senior school officials will review policies related to bullying and harassment, as well as those related to equity.
School board members and administrators will hold listening sessions with the community to hear feedback on issues of diversity, bullying and harassment.
Cole said the proposed measures fall short.
“While we can certainly appreciate Plano ISD’s delayed effort to implement a few new ‘feel good’ measures, we recognize them for exactly what they are: An effort to do damage control,” she said in a statement.
The family issued a new list of demands for the district, including permanently expelling students who “maliciously assault others” and retraining staff on their duty to report and publicly track the district’s compliance with its own policies.
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