After a picture of a noose hanging at Weatherford High School circulated on social media, some people questioned the district’s ethics.
Several Facebook users commented on Weatherford ISD’s Facebook page to call out the incident as unacceptable. Some said the district’s response to the issue was inadequate.
WISD officials posted a statement on their website on Wednesday that acknowledged the picture, which showed a noose hanging outside the Durant Auditorium. The incident happened in early December, and the student involved was disciplined according to the WISD Student Code of Conduct.
“We encourage anyone who is aware of any inappropriate actions or comments related to our schools to immediately contact a school administrator so the matter can be fully investigated and addressed,” the statement read.
WISD Executive Director of Organizational Culture Charlotte LaGrone said the district had not sent messages to parents about the incident prior to the statement on the website. District officials don’t plan to take any further action regarding the incident, LaGrone said.
WISD parent Omarri Richards said he wished the district would’ve notified parents about the incident.
“It wasn’t sent out to the parents, it wasn’t sent out to teachers of what to do or how to handle the situation, and for the parents to know what’s going on in the school,” Richards said. “Knowing that my eighth grader is about to be in the school, in the high school program, and him having to deal with things like that is going to be a huge issue for me because I dealt with it so much when I was in that school. It makes it very hard for me to even want my kids to go to this school.”
As for the student who was responsible for the noose, Richards said the student should have to complete community service and maybe have counseling.
“I’m not saying toss him to the wayside and throw him in jail or anything but something more needs to be done so that this doesn’t continue through his life and throughout the lives of some of the other students in that school,” Richards said.
Karen Smith, who is the parent of a WISD eighth grader, said she saw the picture on Wednesday via social media and called it “extremely disturbing,” particularly for parents of non-white children. Smith said she doesn’t know the backstory behind the noose.
“This is not like the first incident. If it was then I might think, ‘oh, it’s just a stupid prank,’” Smith said. “There are several people out there that have had to pull their kids out because they don’t want them around the racism, the racial remarks and the lack of any kind of consequences by the district.”
Smith said she had to remove one of her kids from the high school and enroll him in a different school because he didn’t feel safe at WHS.
Smith said WISD has not responded to her comments and she claims that the district was hiding the incident.
“Nobody holds them accountable,” Smith said. “It’s that ‘if you don’t like it, get out’ kind of mentality in Weatherford. The town is changing, and we’re not tolerating the hate.”
Smith said she wants to see more transparency from the district and wishes they would host inclusion workshops to teach kids that the behavior is not acceptable.
WHS alumna and Arlington resident Bethany, who declined to give her last name, called the incident a hate crime.
“It’s a message to minority students, particularly black students, that they’re not welcome,” Bethany said. “It’s a sentiment that has always been the underlying theme in Weatherford since I attended school from ‘94-’97.”
During her time at WHS, Bethany said she had been called racial slurs by other students. She said she also noticed that administration disciplined minority students more strictly than white students.
Bethany said the incident should be investigated by police as a hate crime.