LITTLE ELM, Texas — A student-led protest that ended with police using tasers, pepper spray and other force on teens at Little Elm High School remains top of mind for some parents and community members.
“This is a very upsetting time in our community,” Mayor Curtis Cornelius said Monday in a joint video statement with Little Elm Independent School District Superintendent Daniel Gallagher.
The video statement was published three days after videos started circulating of a planned student protest that ended in a chaotic clash with police. Officers are seen on videos using forceful tactics against several students.
“We’ve been as transparent as the law allows us to be,” Gallagher said in the video statement.
Friday’s campus demonstration was in reaction to a student reporting a sexual assault about one month ago, according to Gallagher. He said police and school administrators investigated the claim and determined there was insufficient evidence to prove a crime happened.
“We believe that misinformation related to this incident lead to a call by members of the student body to walk out in support of the alleged victim,” Gallagher explained.
City and school district leaders said social media videos fail to show the entire story and what escalated the chaos during the protest.
“A large group of students attempted to break into an administrator’s office, in pursuit of targeted individuals, who were in genuine fear for their safety,” Gallagher said.
Cornelius said a male and female officer were assaulted by students. He said pepper spray was used when a third student began interfering with the arrest. A taser was used when a student was advancing toward police.
The mayor said a fourth student spat on an officer.
“These are crimes,” the mayor added.
Little Elm Police Department is investigating the actions of each officer involved.
Gallagher said he is also implementing several steps following Friday’s protest, including:
- Creating an independent committee to review Little Elm ISD’s sexual misconduct reporting and investigation process.
- Launching an after-action review of Friday’s incident, and
- Launching an independent investigation into the alleged sexual harassment incident that lead to the student protest.
Some parents are also demanding more answers from the school district.
”As a parent, I am extremely concerned that the school knew about the plans for the protest or the walkout, yet none of it was communicated to the parents in advance,” said Ericka Ofurum. She has a daughter who attends the high school campus.
The superintendent is planning a community meeting to discuss Friday’s incident. It will be held in the Little Elm High School Auditorium on Tuesday, Nov. 30 at 6 p.m.