KATY – A star quarterback for Katy High School, who made headlines last year for being caught on camera using a racial slur, is once again off the football team. Now, he is suing Katy ISD to be reinstated.
“My mind and my heart is focused on playing the game that I love and getting a good education while I’m doing it,” said Branson McClelland, reading from prepared remarks during a press conference Wednesday afternoon.
The 19-year-old student was suspended in September after a Katy ISD police and a K-9 found a substance they believed to be marijuana in Bronson’s vehicle during a search of the Katy H.S. parking lot.
McClelland was ordered to spent 45 days in an alternative school, during which time he was not allowed to participate in any extracurricular activities.
But in a letter dated September 28, less than two weeks after the incident, the Katy ISD superintendent Dr. Ken Gregorski appeared to clear McClelland of any wrongdoing.
He wrote: “The district did not test the substance to determine whether the requisite amount of T-H-C was present that would have indicated the substance was in fact marijuana as prescribed by Texas Law.”
The letter also reveals Bronson’s brother admitted the substance, now believed to be hemp, belonged to him.
As a result, Gregorski wrote in the letter: “I have determined that Bronson did not intend to possess the substance on campus. The discipline... is overturned and no disciplinary matters are pending.”
Bronson’s family, who held a press conference with community activist Quanell X Wednesday afternoon, said they don’t understand why two months later their son has not been allowed to return to Katy High School or play football.
The family believes the district is retaliating against Bronson because his parents hired attorneys in the aftermath of the racial slur incident in October 2019.
“What they put on him wasn’t true, wasn’t right,” said Branson’s father Colburn McClelland.
The family claims the district inappropriately singled out Branson, leaving him branded as a racist. His parents say he was part of a diverse group of students using the n-word at a Whataburger after winning a game against rival Tompkins last year.
“They were told get rid of lawyers and we can work this thing out but they would not do it and that’s why we’re at this point where they are right now,” Quanell X said.
A spokesperson for Katy ISD would not answer questions about the case. But in a statement to KPRC 2 said said “inaccurate or misinformation” had been given to the media and that they were willing to make public Bronson’s disciplinary record if his parents provide written permission for the district to do so.
Family attorney Keith Donati said his clients were not willing to provide the district permission.
A hearing on the lawsuit will be held Monday in Fort Bend County District court.