MUSC Statement on the Ponderosa Elementary School Incident
Tuesday, May 8, 2018
When we send our sons to school, particularly our sons with special needs, we expect that they will be safe; that teachers and administrators have their best interests in mind and will protect them. Yet, on April 17th, one such administrator - Shanna Swearingen, Principal at Ponderosa Elementary School (Houston-area Spring ISD) - did the exact opposite. Showing callous disregard and negligence, she put a special needs student in danger by telling staffers to not chase a special needs student who had a history of running away from class. Instead, she said, call the police and tell them he had a gun. The student did not have a gun; and, the child's guardian learned about the incident two weeks later, on April 30th.
MOBB United for Social Change, Inc is outraged at this latest incident involving a Black student with special needs put in danger by a school administrator. This student needed help; not to have his life potentially endangered by a school administrator. Principal Swearingen has since apologized, describing her comments as a joke and insensitive. We, as mom of black boys, are shocked and alarmed. This type of incident is the fear of every parent of a Black boy who sends their child to school; hoping that no emotional or physical harm occurs while there. The emotional well being and safety of our sons is no joke. Our moms do not see the Principal's remarks as a joke.
Spring ISD staff are reportedly required to have discrimination awareness training each year. This recent occurrence demonstrates that training, without any regular evaluation and performance measures to ensure behavior change, is inadequate. Allowing this principal to continue being responsible for students in this district means the parents of Black boys and parents of special needs students must continue trusting an administrator who endorsed endangering the life of a student based on a racially-charged fabrication. Through moms in and around the Houston area, MUSC will be closely monitoring this situation to advocate for additional corrective actions for this incident.