DeSOTO (CBSDFW.COM) – Days before the start of the new school year, could DeSoto’s school leadership be changing — again? A special Sunday board meeting is now on the agenda.
Only days after taking over, the district’s Acting Superintendent Don Hooper has been forced to apologized after some controversial Facebook posts became public. One mocked former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick. Another showed an image of confederate soldiers with the heading “Democrats haven’t been this mad at Republicans since we freed their slaves.”
Now, many DeSoto parents are angry, ashamed and demanding better. “I was floored,” says DeSoto ISD parent LaShawn Campbell. “I was absolutely floored and disgusted, that someone would say such things and then try to come and be the leader in a minority community.”
DeSoto ISD released a statement on Hooper’s behalf in which he apologizes, saying, in part, “the content in question does not reflect my leadership, character, nor career.”
DeSoto ISD prides itself on its diverse school community and does not support, condone or excuse the rhetoric of the reposted content. In addressing the matter, Dr. Hooper has apologized for the content and his decision to share the content. pic.twitter.com/W6CRFDlW7K
— DeSoto ISD (@desotoisdengage) September 2, 2020
Many DeSoto parents say otherwise. “I categorically reject that,” says Morris Pope, a concerned citizen. “It was on his posts. He’s a 70 year old man… and we don’t need an apology we need a removal.”
A group of parents who spoke with CBS 11 News already have a replacement in mind: Dr. D’Andre Weaver, DeSoto’s most recent school leader.
According to the district, Dr. Weaver abruptly resigned over the weekend. The district has maintained that the departure was voluntary, but many parents remain doubtful.
“Dr. Weaver showed such passion and commitment to this community, so much love to the children in the district, no way he would sacrifice so much of himself and just walk away from it,” says Campbell. “Absolutely not.”
It is well known that Dr. Weaver inherited a financial mess in DeSoto — and a Texas Education Agency (TEA) investigation connected to financial mismanagement during a prior administration. A state takeover of the district remains a possibility.
“He walked into a burning building,” says Saquinta Townsend. “He came, willing to stand up and fight. We don’t believe it was a voluntary resignation.”
Townsend says Dr. Weaver was willing to fight for the district’s students, and now they’re calling on the community to stand together and fight for him.
On Saturday at 10:00 a.m., the group has organized a rally on Beltline Road, near the administration building. They’re asking supporters to line up between Hampton and Polk, wear masks, make signs, wear DeSoto colors, and send a message to both Dr. Weaver and the board.
“We are going to take over both sides of the sidewalks,” says Townsend. “We want to show him our love and support and let him know that we do not want to lose you.”
And other parents, agree. “We have a leader that we all believed in,” says Pope. “And that’s who we want to lead this district. And we’re not accepting anything else.”