FORT BEND COUNTY – Sartartia Middle School students are concerned over the alleged reaction of a teacher after students drew chalk art, which included chalk drawings of gay pride flags.
Fort Bend ISD sent out an email to parents notifying them about an incident, but the email left out the details of what happened. Students and parents told KPRC 2 that the teacher wrote “Heteros Rule” on top of the chalk art, causing concern.
“I just got an email that something happened with a teacher and a student,” said one parent.
The email, which came from Sartartia Middle School Principal Cholly Oglesby, stated:
“We have been made aware of an unfortunate incident involving some of our students who reported an interaction with a teacher, which the students stated left them feeling disrespected and marginalized. Keeping in mind that the safety, health, and social and emotional well-being of our students and staff are always our top priority, we were extremely disheartened to hear about these allegations from members of the Sartartia Middle School community as well as some of our feeder pattern high schools.
“It is my sincere goal to always maintain an atmosphere of honor, inclusion, support and respect on our campus.
“Diversity in our community is to be met with a sense of mutual acknowledgment, understanding and tolerance. I insist that campus leaders, classroom teachers and students exhibit and model this type of behavior without exception. We are exploring opportunities to have a campus-wide event to dialog and foster better understanding, respect, and a healthy co-existence for all members of the Sartartia Middle School community. Please stay tuned for more information about that ...”
The email left some parents wondering.
“I thought it was a little vague,” said Sonya Shernak, a parent of a 7th grader at the school.
“What actually happened?” said Kasia Derrickson, another parent said.
KPRC 2 spoke with several parents. One parent, who did not want to be identified, said her daughter was among several students who experienced the incident.
Her daughter said she and other students were chalking up the courtyard sidewalk during their free period. The chalk art consisted of gay pride and transgender pride flags.
The student and parent said the supervising teacher told the students to erase the pride flags, and when the students refused, the parent said the teacher acted inappropriately.
“The teacher then threatened to pour a drink on the chalk art, and finally grabbed some chalk and wrote ‘HETEROS RULE’ over the pride flags,” the parent said.
Parents sent a picture of the art. In peach-colored chalk, the phrase is covering the original chalk art.
“This was an opportunity to have a productive conversation. Instead, the kids felt ridiculed and less than, and honestly, afraid because the teacher lost control,” the parent said.
Fort Bend ISD sent the following statement regarding the incident:
“We are aware of a reported incident involving some of our students at Sartartia Middle School who report an interaction with a teacher, which the students stated left them feeling disrespected and marginalized. We are following our protocols and procedures and are conducting an investigation.
“Keeping in mind that the safety, health, and social and emotional well-being of our students and staff are always our top priority, we were extremely disheartened to hear about these allegations from members of the school community.
“The District requires that an atmosphere of honor, inclusion, support and respect be fostered on all our campuses.
As the issue involves a personnel matter, we cannot comment further.”