WYLIE, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – Wylie ISD was trending on social media platforms Thursday for all the wrong reasons.
The school district confirmed a teacher has been placed on administrative leave after being reported for allegedly ‘liking’ a controversial Twitter post.
Sources tell CBS 11 the post used the ‘n’ word and referred to blacks as “subhuman animals.”
All this unfolded as a former student went online to share her stories of what she calls pervasive racism in the suburban district north of Dallas.
“Homophobia. Racism,” recalled Jocelyne, who asked that her last name not be used. “Islam kids are called terrorists, black people are called the ‘n’ word, Mexicans are called beaners. It happens every single day.”
It has been years, but she said the wounds still sting.
Jocelyne went online to ask others about their experiences, saying she wanted to know if she was alone. She was not.
“I just got a flood, a flood of responses from kids that graduated already and kids that are currently in the school system to this day,” said Jocelyne.
As a testament to how long these memories last, one student shared a story of an elementary teacher “simulating slavery” in class by forcing “black students to pick cotton while the white kids had free time.”
Another post asked former students to recall the day that two students wore MAGA shirts to school without consequences, but those “wearing Obama shirts were sent to the attendance office and told to change.”
District leaders seemed deflated, but not defensive.
“I’m heartsick,” responded Wylie ISD Superintendent David Vinson.
He acknowledged having seen the disturbing thread, but is also vowing to make changes.
“On our watch, it’s our responsibility to make sure every teacher, every administrator, every bus driver and custodian loves and cares for our students the same way and, yeah, we’ve got work to do.”
However, among the online horror stories, one with a message of hope.
The white student who had worn the MAGA shirt to school joined the thread to acknowledge that she was the student involved and had a different message for classmates Thursday, writing “I would also like to add, I am not proud of my past, but I am proud of who I have become. I have seen the injustices in this world for too long and I’m over it. It’s the fight for what’s right.”
The school district also reached out to staff, parents and secondary students with an email calling the death of George Floyd “a reminder that as far as we’ve come as a country, we still have work to do to address the systemic racism that African- American citizens face daily. Our hearts are deeply troubled knowing that each day there are students and staff who walk through campus doors carrying experiences of injustice and inequity. We are listening to your stories and experiences attentively. ”
The emailed statement goes on to say “Our priority is providing you with a safe platform for expression and a plan for change.”
The words from the school district are the start of what Jocelyne was hoping to accomplish.
And the change of heart from a former student?
“That was amazing… that was beautiful,” said Jocelyne. “The fact that she found it in her to say, ‘that was me, that was my mindset back at the time. I’m a different person. I’m sorry. I apologize for my behavior’… I think that was great.”
And proves that change is possible.