Plainview ISD cancels classes for second straight day

Plainview ISD officials confirmed Monday afternoon that classes are cancelled on Tuesday as a result of threats of violence to staff and students following a report of a sexual incident among students that was recorded and watched by other students at Plainview South Elementary back in April.

Read Plainview ISD’s full statement below:

Plainview ISD and local law enforcement are now working with the FBI regarding the incident that occurred at South Elementary. We appreciate the support of the FBI and of their resources to evaluate the multitude of circumstances surrounding the incident. Furthermore, the police investigation has been submitted to the Hale County District Attorney’s Office for evaluation. 

Plainview ISD is in contact with the Texas Education Agency and the Texas Department of Public Safety’s Intelligence and Counterterrorism Division to assess the containment and continued viability of threats of violence made state-wide and nationally against South Elementary and PISD educators. Once we receive feedback from both entities, we will decide on when classes may continue. At this time, school will be canceled on Tuesday May 9, 2023. We will work with TEA and DPS to determine when classes may continue.

Plainview ISD canceled classes at all campuses Monday, citing “misinformation” and “threats of violence.”

The district issued the following statement Sunday afternoon:

As we continue to receive threats and as there was a mass shooting in Allen Texas, PISD will cancel school Monday throughout the district in an abundance of caution. Due to misinformation regarding a matter under investigation, we continue to receive threats of violence that are extremely concerning. Our police chief has submitted all of the screenshots to the FBI, DPS, and other relevant law enforcement agencies. We will remain in communication and advise families when we will reconvene classes.

Plainview ISD's decision to cancel classes follows a week of protests and outrage from parents. Parents are demanding answers from school officials after first-graders allegedly forced their 6-year-old classmate to perform a sex act while they filmed it despite a teacher being in the classroom at South Elementary School.

Parents and community members angered by the situation at South Elementary School gathered outside the administrative office of the Plainview Independent School District (ISD) on last week, according to the Plainview Herald.

Family members of the girl involved held another protest Friday at Broadway Park, local NBC affiliate KCBD reported.

"A 6-year-old was exposed to things that even adults would have a hard time overcoming," a protesting parent of another student at the elementary school told the Herald. "This is trauma at its worst, and it is a trickle-down effect because it affects everyone around them."

Parents who were protesting last week reportedly learned about the alleged April 19 incident after the school district called the parent of the first-grade girl. After receiving the call from the district, the child reportedly told her family that another student had pressured her to perform a sex act.

Heather Gonzales, an older cousin of the 6-year-old girl, told KCBD that the girl's family noticed a sudden change in her behavior amid indications of distress and complaints of a stomach ache.

The girl reportedly revealed that a boy had exposed himself to her in the school lunch line and that she had also been pulled under a desk and pressured to perform a sex act while another student recorded with a district-issued iPad.

"She said she was hitting him with the poetry book," said Gonzales, noting that the video showed her cousin did her best to fight back. The girl reportedly claimed the incident did not stop "until they let me go."

Gonzales claimed the school district has not provided adequate answers.

"Everything was ‘no comment, I cannot tell you, no comment,’" Gonzales said. "So, you mean to tell me abuse has been happening for a week and a half and these kids are still at the same desk? My cousin is still at a desk with all boys, having to see her abusers every day?"

The students have reportedly since been moved to separate classrooms.

Plainview ISD Superintendent H.T. Sanchez told KCBD that the school made a report and contacted Texas Child Protective Services (CPS) when school officials discovered video of the incident a day after it happened. He said a state investigator came to Plainview the next week and has been working with local law enforcement.

"He had asked that we hold confidentiality because he wanted to be sure that he was able to get the full story from each of the students, the minors, that were involved," Sanchez said. "All of the steps that we’re required to take, we took."

The district also released an extensive statement explaining that because minors are involved, "the school system must be very careful in the information it provides," according to the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal.

The statement assured that Sanchez, assistant superintendent Yesinia Pardo and South Elementary principal Jennifer Hughey "have visited with the parents/guardians of families involved in a recent incident at South Elementary that is under Child Protective Services and law enforcement investigation."

The statement also noted that the alleged incident "occurred away from the full vision of the teacher" while she was working with other students.

When the teacher collected the students' iPads the next day, she noticed one of them had been locked with a password and took the device to the campus administrator. "Inappropriate content was discovered" on the iPad after a tech from the technology department unlocked it, according to the district.

The teacher involved has since been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation, the district said.

Parents who spoke to the Herald during the Monday protest outside the school district's administrative office claimed the incident with the 6-year-old is not an isolated one.

"There have been multiple moms coming out about stuff that has been happening all year and nothing is being done about it," one parent said. "It’s hit its peak and that’s why we’re here today, to get answers."

"My daughter comes home with bruises and rashes if she doesn't participate in these little boys’ sick games," another parent at the protest said. "They will punch her, give her Indian burns, they'll call her names and cuss at her."

Other parents at Plainview South Elementary claimed the alleged incident with the 6-year-old girl is not an isolated one. 

"You can’t have your kids in a classroom like that," one parent said. "You’re worried about the education they are receiving and what they are being exposed to. A lot of parents have parental controls on what their kid is able to watch and see at this age, and we do all of that just for them to go to school and be exposed to stuff they should’ve never seen."

A spokesperson for Plainview ISD told High Plains Pundit that "CPS is continuing its investigation, and we continue to cooperate with CPS and law enforcement, by their request we are not able to comment any further than we have shared."

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