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 (23)
No. 1-23
LEO0301
LEO0301

Obviously not the smartest comment to make but if it was in a private setting and was said in jest, what's the big deal? Of course since the child, a habitual run-a-way is black, everyone has to make it into a racial issue. This is why there is such a divide in this country. It started in the Obama administration and continues to today. Everyone (liberals) are all so sensitive that you have to walk on egg shells when talking to one for fear of offending them. And to the father who claims to be African American, no you're not! If you were born in this country, you are an American. Period! No other race or nationality does that except blacks.

angryAmerican
angryAmerican

Not sure how the race of the child was inserted into the discussion, but the remark, regardless of race was stupid as shit! Not sure what level of discipline is deserved. Did she laugh it off at the time? How did the comment come to light? If she didn't make it clear she was kidding, she should be fired, regardless of the race of the kid! If she made it clear she was kidding and someone blew this up, that's on the other party! No trust!

WalterL48
WalterL48

What's the big deal? The cops were told that this kid had a gun. Suppose the cops pulled up and he pulls out a phone? He could have been killed by her false report.

tfort
tfort

There are certain things you don't joke about. This is defiantly one of them. He could be killed if she says that to the cops. I am surprised she still has job.

LEO0301
LEO0301

WalterL48 I don't see where the police were actually told the child had a gun. If that's the case, yes it would be a big deal. If she said it in a closed room as a joke, then this is a big to do about nothing.

LEO0301
LEO0301

@ndsmith If the teacher said that they should report he has a gun because he's black I would be in total agreement. Otherwise it's a big to do about nothing.

Hi_estComnDenomn
Hi_estComnDenomn

@LEO0301
"If you were born in this country, you are an American. Period! No other race or nationality does that except blacks."

I suppose the irony would be totally lost on you to point out that your first sentence tells him to strip any exclusive identity except American, and your last sentence places him right back into exclusivity, right?

Mrs10
Mrs10

Why is this a thing? Seriously - she made a joke. A stupid joke. Not funny. But did she act on it? Did she file a false report? Did she make ANY statement about the child’s race? NO!

People need to calm down, take a breath, and acknowledge the fact that not everything is about race.

LEO0301
LEO0301

@Hi_estComnDenomn I'm sure you get my point, Cheech. There is no such thing as a African American. If you are black, and were born in this country, you are an American. Not that difficult to figure out.....at least for most normal people.

Propolice
Propolice

I thought blm was considered a “terrorist” group which personally I believe they are, so why does anyone even listen to those racist thugs?

John-Brown
John-Brown

I'm not sure how race entered this. Even if this comment was taken seriously, people like Highest_Retard would immediately assume this was a white boy. After all, they are the ones shooting up the schools, right?

Hi_estComnDenomn
Hi_estComnDenomn

@John-Brown
Good morning Spineless. Did your Internet warrior meeting go well?

Nah, i took a look at the woman's haircut and immediately guessed correctly that the boy was black.

If that's not a undercover racist haircut, i don't know what is.

Hi_estComnDenomn
Hi_estComnDenomn

@b1rd Big Talk, Jr. It's your turn to pick up the conversation for your elder. Do your thing.

Icare2
Icare2

This is a non story. People.....lighten up. She DIDNT say it to the police. SHE WAS Referring to how fast the police respond, not the student or his race! People are human and we say things in jest a lot. It doesn’t mean anymore than what was meant at the moment. Stop reading so much into everything. That is the problem! She apologized. Case closed.

JustMeHere
JustMeHere

@Hi_estComnDenomn Just when I thought I had heard it all... LMFAO... now you can tell a racist from their haircut.

Hi_estComnDenomn
Hi_estComnDenomn

@JustMeHere
Definitely. It also screams "LET ME SPEAK TO YOUR MANAGER!"

And you know exactly who I'm talking about.

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.

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.

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!

Hi_estComnDenomn
Hi_estComnDenomn

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

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.