European trip hits sour note for Dallas ISD music student



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Posted on September 10, 2012 at 10:56 PM

Updated Tuesday, Sep 11 at 8:09 AM

DALLAS — Thirteen-year-old Julius Hill is as fascinated with piano as he is the world around him.

His mom, Erica Edmonds, had hoped a summer trip to Europe might further mold her son's mind.

"I was excited," she said. "I thought we were going to get the opportunity of a lifetime."

But Italy and Spain this summer turned out to be a nine-day disaster.

One of Julius' math teachers at Dallas ISD's Greiner Middle School organized the trip.

Julius said she intimidated, humiliated, and discriminated against him. She left the 8th grader at a parade once, he said, made him eat alone at restaurants, and even said something startling.

"She said, 'I need to put a rope around your waist or your neck. Which one would you prefer?'" Julius recalled.

"Anyone who doesn't know the history of lynching may not know that, but that was immediately what my mind went to," Edmonds said.

"Everything she asked me to do, I would do it," Julius said. "I wouldn't be rude to her or disrespectful because I knew she was still authority, even if she wasn't treating me right. I needed to be respectful."

"He just got screamed at for everything," said Carolina Garcia, one of the two chaperones on the trip. Garcia detailed what she witnessed the teacher do to Julius in a 14-page affidavit for Dallas ISD investigators.

"He never disrespected her at all," Garcia added. "I was there. I heard everything. I saw everything. We were always together in a group."

Both Garcia and Edmonds said they think the Dallas ISD teacher was just racist, considering Julius was the only African-American on the trip.

Dallas ISD said it is investigating, and the teacher in question remains on administrative leave. But the internal investigation has been under way since June.

Julius' mom came forward because she doesn't understand what's taking so long. She wants this teacher removed from the classroom permanently for acting recklessly with her son overseas.