The 13-year-old girl heard a male say, “Don’t come to school tomorrow,” in gym class. She initially dismissed it.
After school, the eighth-grader couldn’t stop thinking about those words. Newtown, when she was a toddler, was a shooting. Parkland in elementary school. Uvalde, last year, when 19 students and two teachers were shot 384 miles from her school.
“Don’t come to school tomorrow” sounded ominous, like a caution after a tragedy. She kept thinking about it as she packed her journals and got into her grandpa’s car to travel home. She told her buddies what she heard in gym class and what it meant.
“this is genuinely scaring the sh– out of me,” At 4:42 p.m., she sent six group chat messages. A minute later,, “lets see if i can tell my mom without crying.”
These comments disrupted the girl’s schoolwork and self-esteem for weeks. Because she’s underage, the Dallas Morning News won’t name her.
Lisa Youngblood was in a Zoom conference when her daughter arrived home in late January. The girl texted her that she needed to talk about school.
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Important. Youngblood mutely met. “Come here,” she texted back. “You can tell me now.” They prepared to inform Lewisville Lakeview Middle School of their concern.
Before dialling, Youngblood’s phone rang. The assistant principal already knew. She called the girl and a school police officer investigated.
According to a Jan. 26 incident report, police swiftly discovered the youngster who made the claim did not have a gun. Campus was safe.
Youngblood’s daughter went to school the next morning relieved. She was called to the office while her first-period science class examined the periodic table.
The assistant principal concluded the girl lied about school safety. Her sentence was three days of suspension and 73 days at an alternative school for eighth grade.
The girl first had trouble understanding. She couldn’t breathe. She attended honours classes and had never gotten in trouble, let alone for this. She cried when the administrator phoned her parents.
At a time when schools and children are told to stay vigilant to prevent the next shooting, Lewisville ISD’s response exposed the Black eighth-grader to harsh discipline that research shows has a disproportionate impact on children of colour and potentially devastating effects as students begin their lives.
Federal privacy rules and a grievance prevented Lewisville school authorities from discussing the girl’s case. Director of Student Services Rebecca Clark stated that “grossly false to claim the district has ever punished a kid for reporting a safety concern.”
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