Shanna Swearingen, the principal at Ponderosa Elementary School in Houston, TX, recently came under fire thanks to her insensitive comments about a black special needs child at her school.
According to a Facebook group dedicated to the school, Swearingen and some of her colleagues were discussing the boy in question, who has behavioral problems and occasionally runs from the classroom, and Swearingen made the following joke to the other staff members:
Obviously, Swearingen’s comments drew criticism from other parents at the school once the remarks became known.
“It’s disgusting … That kind of comment is disgusting. Even if it was a joke, how could you even recant something like that?” parent Jessica Spoonemore told Houston’s KPRC. “That was very unnecessary and disturbing, especially for an elementary school.”
Though Swearingen has not spoken to the media, she did release a statement to the school, saying:
“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. Here in our community, we had a hard year with Hurricane Harvey, and the damage it caused to a large part of our neighborhood. I was so proud of the unity seen in this community during the recovery efforts.
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.
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.”
The Spring Independent School District also sent out a statement about Swearingen on Monday:
“While the comment was made in jest, it was inappropriate and should never have been made.
That point has been thoroughly communicated to Ponderosa’s principal who actually self-reported the incident to the district ― taking full accountability for the inappropriateness of the comment. Ponderosa’s principal has also apologized to her school community.
The district will continue to monitor the school climate at Ponderosa to ensure that incidents like this do not occur again.”
It is unclear whether or not disciplinary action will be taken against Swearingen.