Principal Suggests Telling Cops Special Needs Boy Had Gun After He Walks Off

Ponderosa Elementary School principal Shanna Swearingen issued an apology on Tuesday.

Spring, TX – An elementary school principal who made an inappropriate joke about one of her students has issued an apology in the face of vast criticism.

Ponderosa Elementary School principal Shanna Swearingen made the comment on April 17, in the presence of three of her staff members, KPRC reported.

“We won’t chase him,” Swearingen said of a black, special needs boy, who had a history of running away from class. “We will call the police and tell them he has a gun so they can come faster.”

According to KPRC, the child’s guardian was unaware of the comment until he was contacted by the news agency. Many other parents expressed outrage, while others believed the principal should face disciplinary action.

There were also many parents who struggled to believe the allegations were true.

Although Swearingen made no comment about the student’s race, Black Lives Matter Houston and Stand Up for Racial Justice have both called for her termination, KRIV reported.

“It's probably going down racial lines whether we want it to or not,” parent Christopher Mitchell told KPRC. “I think it speaks to more of what we have going on in our country as much as it is going on at this school, but some action needs to be taken.”

Swearingen immediately accepted responsibility for her comment, and brought it to the attention of district administrators of her own accord, the Spring Independent School District said in a statement, according to KPRC.

“As a diverse district committed to dignity and respect for all, we take this incident very seriously,” the district’s statement read. “While the comment was made in jest, it was inappropriate and should never have been made.”

After KPRC aired a story about the situation on Monday, Swearingen sent a letter of apology to the parents and guardians of the students who attended her school.

“It is with a heavy heart that I write this message,” the letter read. “I made an insensitive comment that was not reflective of who I am nor how much I care about every student who attends this school.”

"Your children mean the world to me, and I’m heartbroken that my thoughtless remark has caused disruption to the hard work underway here at Ponderosa,” the principal continued, adding that she was proud to see how the school and community worked together in the wake of Hurricane Harvey.

"Please know that the same commitment and drive that I had to make things right for our children after the storm, I have today as I work to make things right now with both staff and parents,” Swearingen wrote. "I am truly sorry for the comment I made. It does not in any way reflect the love and care I have for the students of Ponderosa."

But her apology did little to appease her staunchest critics.

On Wednesday, school district superintendent Rodney Watson issued a statement, and explained that just because the district hadn’t provided details regarding how they were handling the situation, that didn’t mean it wasn’t being addressed, KRIV reported.

“As an African-American male and father, I understand the concern we are seeing around the careless and inappropriate comment that was made by our Ponderosa Elementary principal,” Watson said.

“As a school district, it is our policy not to discuss personnel issues so it appears some people have assumed that no action was taken on this issue,” he continued. “That is not the case. I would never let a comment of this nature go unaddressed.”

Comments
No. 1-23
SueCoop
SueCoop

Not by a long shot. Although I don't hear it from people new to the country or from other states, it's just regular people from all races, religions, and backgrounds. Sorry to disappoint you in your efforts to make it racial.
Maybe it's regional.

Hi_estComnDenomn
Hi_estComnDenomn

@SueCoop
If you find this joke common, you're surrounded by cracker-ass crackers.

SueCoop
SueCoop

Common joke. Calling police because burglars are in your house as opposed to calling police saying you shot the burglars in your house...calling police because someone is jacking your car as opposed to calling police saying I just shot someone trying to car-jack me. Maybe it's a Texas thing, because I hear it a lot. I think people are just looking to get butt hurt so they can complain about something!

gbbmmfic
gbbmmfic

A minor accident reported at 5:15 am. Wait time for police 4 1/2 hours. Maybe there's a gun in the car. Wait time 4 1/2 minutes. She was joking about how police respond to calls.

WPD143
WPD143

Strip an incident of its context and everyone gets to imagine his own details. Some of that is going on here. Certainly, if it was a jest, that should have been obvious to everyone who heard it. If so, someone had it in for this principal. We weren't there and there are not enough details in the news article to make an intelligent assessment. If it was, in fact, a joke, it's a sign of the times: humor is no longer allowed.