PLAINVIEW, Texas — Concerned family members of Plainview Independent School District students protested before speaking at the school’s board meeting on Thursday evening. Many were infuriated about the school’s response to reports of sexual behavior among first graders at South Elementary.
Heather Gonzales previously told EverythingLubbock.com that her 6-year-old family member was forced to perform a sexual act on another student and the incident was recorded on an iPad. PISD later said authorities who reviewed the video determined that “a sexual assault did not occur; rather, mutual inappropriate sexual contact occurred between two 6-year-old students.”
Before the meeting accepted comments from family members, Vice President Amber Bass read a statement from the school board.
“A very disheartening, unprecedented situation occurred at Plainview South Elementary. It has been confirmed that school and district administrators abided by the instructions given to them by Child Protective Services and law enforcement and followed all legal requirements well within the timeframe as required by the State of Texas and the United States government. It was also confirmed that the teacher was abiding by the same structure of teachers across the district and state used to test students as required by the Texas Education Agency… when the unsettling situation occurred. The Plainview ISD Board of Trustees, along with the Superintendent, have been deeply saddened by this situation and are very concerned for the children first and foremost, the faculty, PISD family and community. The Board and Superintendent understand one of the intensely felt concerns in this situation is communication. With such a serious circumstance, Plainview ISD administrators were responsible for keeping the situation confidential as directed by investigators and as required by law to protect the children and families involved until the outcome was revealed…”Partial statement from Plainview ISD Board of Trustees
Bass said school policy would be changed, and said the board sent their deepest regrets to all students involved in the incident.
Each person who signed up to give comments during the meeting was given one minute to speak. More than one person was escorted away from the podium by security and law enforcement.
Elisa Medina, a cousin of the 6-year-old involved, told the school board the little girl made an outcry and explained that a young boy had “told her to do something that she did not want to do.”
“She hit him, she said no, she resisted until she got tired,” Medina said. “These are not signs of mutual consent.”
Raquel Medina, another family member of the little girl, said she followed the chain of command and “got nowhere.” Esther Zapata, the girl’s grandmother, said the way the situation was handled was “inappropriate, wrong and disgusting.”
James Baxa told the board he was “disgusted by the reaction of the school district” and thought the staff involved should face criminal charges.
“Our community is being highlighted for an event that should’ve never transpired,” Sabrie Villegas said. “Statements have previously been put out that show zero compassion but were written in a matter to merely protect the district’s own agenda.”
Villegas said she could provide criticism while still supporting the school and students. She also said teachers needed more support and resources. Erin Evanson-Lass said just because the young girl was not observed showing a struggle in the video, it “does not indicate consent.”
“If it was one of your children, it would be handled differently,” Heather Gonzales said. “This was not just my cousin that this happened to, there are several kids that this has happened to.”
As board members left the room, protestors chanted, “Be their voice!”
The school district said in a previous statement that all 6-year-olds involved are victims and are “being treated as such due to the occurrence of behaviors that are not typical of 6-year-old students.”