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Plano ISD says it has issued consequences after completing investigation into recent allegations of bullying



PLANO, TX – Plano ISD says it has issued consequences after completing the investigation surrounding bullying allegations from a 13-year-old student, who his family says was the victim of physical abuse and racial taunts.

The district said Tuesday that it took multiple courses of action, including issuing consequences “in accordance with the Student Code of Conduct.” The district said it is prohibited from sharing specifics on the discipline, and didn’t share how many students were disciplined or what the discipline was.

Plano ISD said in its release that when it confirms a bullying incident, it notifies the parents of the victim and the perpetrator, and “promptly responds by taking appropriate disciplinary action.”

It also said that an independent investigation of prior allegations is ongoing and it will review policies and procedures regarding the bullying.

In February, a video surfaced of the student being forced to drink a yellow liquid at a sleepover birthday party. The family said it was urine.

The criminal investigation is ongoing. Plano police assigned juvenile detectives to the case on March 4 and police said at a news conference last week that there could be criminal offenses. The district said they are working with the police department, and Chief Ed Drain met with the family.

“I remain resolute in my conviction that bullying, harassment, threats or acts of racism against any Plano ISD student are unacceptable and will not be tolerated. The successful education of our students is built on a foundation of trust. Our job is to educate students, and to protect them as well,” Superintendent Sara Bonser said in the investigation update Tuesday.

The district investigated the off-campus events “pursuant to provisions of David’s Law,” which is a law that empowers districts, schools and parents to seek legal remedies against cyberbullying, according to CrimeStoppers.

The update Tuesday also said that the district updated resources for parents and provided district-wide communications. District leaders will review policies and procedures related to bullying, harassment, equity and inclusion, as well as reviewing training for staff and students.

The district administration and board members will hold listening rounds regarding diversity, equity and inclusion to actively listen to all stakeholders, the district said.

The family claims the boy has been subjected to two years of physical and verbal abuse, including racial threats by students at Haggard Middle School.

WFAA is not identifying the boy, or anyone else involved because the case involves minors.

The district also shared last week that a third party was hired to investigate any previous allegations of bullying where the boy was a victim. That investigation is ongoing, the district said Tuesday.

The family’s lawyer was calling for this to be investigated as a federal hate crime, but Drain said that there are no provisions for the FBI to get involved since those involved are juveniles.

Under state law, there is not a specific crime that is a hate crime, but if a crime is motivated because of race, sexual orientation or gender, then the punishment for that crime can be enhanced, Drain said. He said the department is looking at that in regards to this investigation.

After speaking with detectives, the boy was taken to the Children’s Advocacy Center of Collin County, which helps children who have experienced trauma, Drain said.

Bonser said she talked with Summer Smith, the boy’s mother, prior to the news conference to hear about the boy’s experiences.

“The meeting was good. Now what? I’m waiting,” Smith said as she spoke of demanding action from school district administrators.

Smith told WFAA that her son was invited to a sleepover birthday party by a peer who had befriended him recently. KC Fox, a crisis strategist helping the family, said that the peer “did not initiate the assault.”

Fox said the mother had done her “due diligence” in knowing the attendees of the party. However, the mother was not aware that the group of teenagers that had allegedly terrorized her son previously were in attendance the following day.

“It was premeditated. It was obvious that [my son] was only invited for their pure entertainment,” Smith said.

Plano ISD sent an email to parents, saying:

“The Plano ISD Board of Trustees stands united in the belief that no child should be victimized in any manner, nor be subject to any form of bullying, harassment or intolerance.”

The district reiterated it had taken immediate action.

“Plano ISD does not condone bullying, harassment, and/or threats against any student or any staff member. To that end, we intend to continue working with our parents, community and local law enforcement to resolve this concern while remaining focused on the success and wellbeing of our students,” the statement said.