ELK GROVE, Calif. (KTXL) — Parents of an Elk Grove Unified School District student are calling for change after they said the district targeted their daughter.
Heather Washington said her daughter, Ariana, has never gotten into trouble at school. In fact, Washington said the Katherine Albiani Middle School seventh grader was always willing to help her friends, especially when having to change for physical education.
“She stood in front of her friend to help her friend not feel self-conscious in the locker room,” Washington told FOX40.
Back in August, Washington said that act got Ariana in trouble, with the school saying she failed to follow directives to change in a timely manner.
“They said our daughter, at the time, was looking around. That’s what we were informed of when we later met with them,” Washington explained.
As a result, Washington said her daughter was disciplined.
“Vice Principal Couchot said she was banned from the locker room and had her schedule changed,” Washington said.
To make things worse, Washington said Ariana then had to change into her PE clothes outside on the blacktop.
“She was denied access,” Washington said. “So she had to make a 12-year-old decision: either she misses PE or she has to change outside.”
The Washingtons eventually decided to pull their daughter out of Albiani Middle School and have since enrolled her at Toby Johnson Middle School.
Through all of this, they believe their daughter was targeted.
“You’re assuming, based on our daughter’s appearance, that she was gay because she has a very tomboy appearance, she wears boy clothes,” she said.
Just last week, Washington and her husband showed up to a board meeting and called on board members, demanding changes.
“‘You need to step down. You don’t need to be here. You don’t need to speak on my daughter at all because you don’t have her best interest,’” said Charles Washington.
The Black Youth Leadership Project, a nonprofit aimed at educating the next generation of Black leaders, is now involved and encouraging the district to treat all students equally.
“If you’re not doing that to all the children, you can’t do it to this one,” said Black Youth Leadership Project CEO and President Lorreen Pryor. “We’re not having it.”
A spokesperson with the district told FOX40 they are working to address the concerns but cannot speak any further as this is still a pending investigation.
The District is currently working to address the concerns brought forth from the Washington family. Your request involves a parent complaint on behalf of their child and a pending independent complaint investigation. Student complaints and personnel matters are confidential and no additional information can be shared by the District regarding a particular complaint and investigation. The District takes seriously and investigates employee complaints consistent with law and board policy.Xanthi Soriano, Director of Communications and Public Information Officer for the Elk Grove Unified School District