Parents react after hearing Spring ISD principal's remarks about a special needs student
HOUSTON – Spring Independent School District principal at Ponderosa Elementary School, Shanna Swearingen, apologized for remarks she made about a special-needs student -- young black boy with behavioral issues who is known to run away from school.
Swearingen was overheard saying "We won't chase him. We will call the police and tell them he has a gun so they can come faster."
A spokesperson for the district said, "While the comment was made in jest, it was inappropriate and should never have been made."
Several parents of special-needs children at Ponderosa Elementary School contacted Channel 2 News after we broke the story Monday night.
Connie Guerrero chose not to send her 5-year-old to school Tuesday after hearing about the principal's comments and is pulling her son from the school altogether.
"I'm deciding to withdraw my son. I was in shock and I was in awe for her to say a comment like that about a special-needs kid. It's not right," Guerrero said.
Many parents and civil rights activists calling for Swearingen to resign or be fired.
"Black children are criminalized far too often. What about all of the other children who've died because of a toy gun? And you're saying that this child has a gun but doesn't but actually really needs your help? That's sad," said Ashton P. Woods, of Black Lives Matter Houston.
Despite the controversy, many parents said they still support Swearingen.
"She apologized for it. We all make mistakes we're human. We all say things sometimes that we shouldn't say," said Cathy Rodriguez, vice president of the Ponderosa Elementary School PTA.
Spring ISD would not say whether Swearingen would face disciplinary action.
District spokesperson Karen Garrison said Spring ISD staffers are required to complete a course on discrimination awareness each year.
"While we do not discuss specific disciplinary action pertaining to personnel matters, it is our practice to require additional training when warranted," Garrison said.
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