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Students at Texas school disciplined for ‘slave trade’ held over social media, activists say



FORT WORTH, TX — A group of students at a school in Aledo, west of Fort Worth, were disciplined based on a slave auction they set up on social media to pretend to sell their Black classmates, according to local activists.

The Aledo Independent School District learned of an incident where students at the Daniel Ninth Grade Campus cyberbullied and harassed other students based on their race, according to a statement from Superintendent Dr. Susan Bohn. The district started an investigation that involved law enforcement.

The district did not specify what the incident involved and said administrators learned about it more than two weeks ago. Local activists told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram that a group of students set up the slave auction. A screenshot provided to the Star-Telegram showed a Snapchat group with various names, including “Slave Trade” and another name that includes a racial slur. One person typed they would spend $1 on a peer, and another person wrote in the chat they would pay $100 for someone else.


Tony Crawford, an activist and leader with Parker County Progressives, said the situation was “another in a long line of incidents that are swept under the rug.”

“Can you imagine what it’s like for somebody to put a price on your head?” he said in regards to the students who were victims of the cyberbullying. “I cannot imagine the embarrassment and hurt that people you might be friends with are having that conversation.”

Eddie Burnett, president of Parker County NAACP, said he learned about the situation Sunday. He plans to talk about the situation at the Aledo school board meeting on April 19.

The district did not specify what discipline the students received.

“There is no room for racism or hatred in the Aledo ISD, period,” Bohn said in the statement. “Using inappropriate, offensive and racially charged language and conduct is completely unacceptable and is prohibited by district policy.”

In a letter sent to parents the week of April 5, Principal Carolyn Ansley wrote that “an incident of cyberbullying and harassment” led to conversations about how inappropriate and hurtful language can impact others.

The district spoke with all the students involved, as well as their parents, and “made it clear that statements and conduct that targets a student because of his or her race is not only prohibited but also has a profound impact on the victims,” Bohn said in the statement.

“This incident has caused tremendous pain for the victims, their families, and other students of color and their families, and for that we are deeply saddened,” the statement said.