DALLAS (AP) — A third party will be hired to investigate allegations of racist bullying and abuse against a Black 13-year-old boy during a sleepover after claims that he was only invited to entertain his white classmates, Texas school leaders and officials said.
During a news conference Tuesday, Superintendent Sara Bonser, alongside Plano Mayor Harry LaRosiliere and Police Chief Ed Drain addressed the incident that quickly went viral after the boy’s mother, Summer Smith, posted the videos and images on Facebook.
Smith said she made the videos public because she wasn’t getting the help she needed from the Plano district and officials at Haggard Middle School, The Dallas Morning News reported.
She said administrators initially told her there was nothing they could do because the incident happened off campus, however students circulated the videos during a school day.
The allegations under investigation include that the boy was invited solely to be “entertainment” for his white classmates during the sleepover, where he was called racial slurs, beaten and made to drink white classmates’ urine.
Bonser pledged that the district was acting swiftly to address the family’s concerns and that the investigation will include looking into the allegations that the boy had been bullied long before the sleepover.
Smith recalls her son had quit the football team at Haggard because of bullying and when the boy raised the issue, his coach did not take action.
Smith, her attorney and local activists presented a list of demands including expelling all students involved in the abuse as well as committing that Plano ISD will recognize and dismantle ”systemic racism within the school district” and address past and present bullying incidents. They are calling for the incident to be investigated as a hate crime.
The police chief said he cannot disclose what criminal offenses the department might be considering because the investigation is still ongoing.
The Police Department also referred the case to the state’s Child Protective Services because of questions regarding adult supervision at the sleepover.