Rosa Flores, Texas Cable News, November 8, 2007
A sensitive issue at Hightower High School had police giving 11 News a hard time.
The reporter covering the story was not allowed to talk to anyone on the public sidewalk nor the public street that faces the school.
The district e-mailed 11 News a picture and said that an 11th grade student posted the words “white” and “colored” over two water fountains.
And here’s an interesting detail, school officials say the student who posted the signs is African American.
“It’s a surprising twist and I’m not quite sure what it could be. But we are concerned that when these symbols are used that we have people use them because of their historical significance,” said Cominsky.
It is a significance that has parents and students very surprised.
The student who posted the signs was ticketed for disorderly conduct by offensive gesture.
He was also suspended for three days.
It’s a high school shocker—water fountains found labeled for “whites” and “colored.” Was it an innocent prank? It’s a sign of previous times that is stirring up emotion in Fort Bend County.
The handmade signs were only posted on the wall at Hightower High School for a matter of minutes, but many here feel that being posted for only a matter of seconds is far too long.
Two water fountains each had a handwritten sign above. One read “whites” and the other read “colored.”
“Anybody would find that offensive,” said Alice Gibson, aunt of a Hightower student. “Wouldn’t you?”
Campus police say they caught a 16-year-old student in the act of hanging the signs. School officials sent a letter home to parents on Thursday describing what had happened. The letter also explained that the teen was cited for allegedly committing a class C misdemeanor for disorderly conduct by an offensive gesture.
Nearly 57% of the students at Hightower High School are African American, and so is the student who stands accused of putting the signs on the wall. Some say that doesn’t make this act any less offensive.
Most everyone here agrees, though, that these signs and what they represent is no laughing matter.
“We all know,” Gibson explained. “We all know that we really must be politically correct. No matter what you think, keep it to yourself.”
Fort Bend ISD officials say the student wouldn’t tell them what his motivation was. He has been suspended from school for three days. If convicted in court, he could be forced to pay a fine of up to $500.