BASTROP, Texas (KXAN) — Bastrop ISD is investigating a school employee after she hung a noose for a staff party at Cedar Creek Middle School.
District officials confirmed today the investigation is still ongoing as to why the employee hung the noose. They did say they do not believe she did it with racist intentions, but rather to represent Old West law. They say that investigation should wrap up Friday.
Bastrop ISD issued this statement regarding the noose:
“On Monday, June 9, 2014, Cedar Creek Middle School held an end-of-the-year award ceremony for CCMS staff and faculty. CCMS employees were the only individuals in attendance. The CCMS decorating committee presented a western theme in which one of the committee members created a noose in keeping with the Wild West theme. A fellow campus employee then saw the noose and made CCMS administrators aware of the situation. Campus administrators took immediate action and removed the noose from the decorations.
While it appears that there was no malicious intent, Bastrop Independent School District takes concerns such as these extremely seriously and is currently conducting an in-depth investigation into the matter to ascertain the facts of the situation and whether or not any disciplinary action should take place.”
This incident comes on the heels of a federal investigation into the district that is still an open investigation. In 2013, federal investigators were on site after Bastrop High School football coaches were accused of telling Hispanic players to “run like they were crossing the border.” Other allegations included a sixth-grade teacher stating, “All Black people are ghetto”. The Department of Education report also showed a principal accused of telling black students their personal TAKS scores were the reason the school was failing.
It also cited an allegation that teachers at Bastrop Middle School were allowed to eliminate black and Hispanic students from entering the National Honor Society if the teacher deemed them disrespectful, or “having attitude.”
In 2012, a former guidance counselor, Charlene Emanuel, filed a discrimination lawsuit claiming she was demoted due to age and race. She told KXAN minority students were treated differently than white students, and that she felt “forced to resign” when she was reportedly told to stop complaining about discrimination.
“I couldn’t take it anymore. I had to take a stand and make it stop.” Emanuel went on to say, “It’s really sad when you’re doing a complaint – you’re filing a complaint – against your coworker. That’s really sad when you’re in the business of helping children but you’re harming children.”
Bastrop ISD officials said they could not comment on Emanuel or her accusations citing privacy laws and personnel issues. They did say, however, that the district is doing sensitivity training Friday and throughout the summer.
The US Department of Education issued this statement regarding it’s open investigation into Bastrop ISD:
“The case involving Bastrop ISD is currently under investigation, and the investigation focuses on whether the district discriminated against black and Latino students on the basis of race by subjecting them to racial harassment and by treating them differently on the basis of race/national origin with respect to disciplinary practices as well as limiting access to certain benefits and programs. “