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‘Slave trade’ social media post reveals ugliest side of mostly white Aledo | Opinion

Mac Engel
·4 min read

The group of students who made Aledo famous for all of the wrong reasons were three ninth graders, one of whose family is currently try to move out of town.

Kids, don’t joke about a “slave trade” about two of your Black classmates, as the three Aledo students did on Snapchat. It’s racist, unfunny, and it will change your life forever.

While you’re at it, stop putting your entire life on the Internet.

According to sources familiar with a situation that has become a point of discussion, and embarrassment, in the mostly white suburb west of Fort Worth, the three boys who built the racist conceit have been punished by the Aledo ISD.

The punishment is for the kids, but this sort of behavior starts at home. In the neighborhood. Down the street.

Aledo, look in the mirror. You specifically may not be a part of the problem, but are you being part of the solution?

Just because you cheer on the few Black kids who play running back, wide receiver and run track for the Aledo Bearcats means you may only be perpetuating a stereotype that says we white folks support the Blacks when they score our touchdowns, but stop at that.

According to The Texas Tribune, as of the 2019-’20 school year, Aledo ISD had 6,399 students, 94 of whom are Black. That’s 1.5 percent.

That 1.5 percent sees all of this, and God only knows how it affects them.

Because the Black children, and their families, who moved to Aledo to live their lives will have a hard time now not thinking of their mostly white neighbors, “This is how they really see us.”

The three Daniel Ninth Grade Center students are not currently permitted to be on campus, sources said. It is unclear the exact nature of the punishment that was meted out.

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) prohibits the school from discussing anything about the students, including the severity of the punishment.

Two of the three boys were on the baseball team, sources said. They have since been removed from the team. The third student had no affiliation with the team.

Since this all became a national news story, employees of Aledo ISD have received threatening emails from people all over the United States.

“I’ve got all of these emails from people telling me what a terrible person I am,” said Aledo football coach Tim Buchanan, whose program has won three straight state titles.

By Wednesday morning Buchanan said he had several students in his office who told him they were afraid to go to school. And while five of the students were Black, and there were some white kids in there saying the same thing.

Members of the football team are upset over the incident because it portrays their school and community in a terrible light, with reports featured in The New York Times and other national media outlets.

One upperclassmen on the team, who is white, is trying to start a walkout of students at school on Monday, April 19. The Aledo ISD school board is scheduled to discuss this incident, and its fallout, at a meeting that night.

However, a walkout without permission from the school could have consequences on the participating students.

In the Aledo ISD 48-page student code of conduct, the type of behavior exhibited by the three students would fall under the “Mistreatment of Others” that says “Students Shall Not ... Engage in bullying, cyberbullying, harassment, or making hit lists.”

There is nothing in those 48 pages about acts of racism. Maybe it’s an benign oversight, and something a school administrator simply would not envision to put in a handbook.

We were all young and stupid once, but this sort of “humor” is learned somewhere other than an Aledo classroom or a textbook issued at school.

“Kids don’t learn to be racist in school. We don’t teach it for damn sure,” Buchanan said. “That’s the hardest part. We can educate the hell out of them at school, but if they go home and they learn it at home? That’s the problem. We [at school] just try to educate them to be good kids.”

The three kids may grow up to be good people, but much like the people they hurt, they will live with this forever.

We know the behaviors of a few does not represent all of the entire community, however, these kids learned this from somewhere, and it wasn’t in a classroom.

It starts at home.

Aledo, just to be sure, check the mirror.