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Friday, April 16, 2021

School district apologizes for newsletter photo

GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) – Officials with Grand Prairie ISD have apologized for a photo shared with all staff members of teachers wearing “Chucks & Pearls” attire on Inauguration Day after complaints from some employees.

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The famed “Chucks & Pearls” were seen across the nation on Wednesday, Jan. 20, as Americans celebrated Kamala Harris’ historic accomplishment of becoming the first woman vice president, as well as the first woman of color.

In Grand Prairie ISD’s internal daily newsletter that is emailed to all staff, a photo was shared of teachers with the attire. However, the district said some staff members saw the photo as violating “political neutrality.”

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Grand Prairie ISD teachers wearing “Chucks & Pearls”

A day later, the district issued an apology, saying “Yesterday, a photo ran in the Daily Message that was intended to celebrate a historic accomplishment. While we did not mean for the photo to be a political statement, in a larger sense it was and that goes against the direction given to all staff to remain apolitical. We apologize for our error in judgment.”

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The district’s superintendent, Linda Ellis, also sent a letter to staff on Friday, saying the photo “sparked discussion and disappointment.”

“As part of what we do on a routine basis, a message was shared with staff earlier this year that while teaching it is critical that we remain politically neutral. I think we can all agree on that. Where the conflict arose is when we put a picture in the daily message that some staff construed as political,” Ellis said in the letter.

Ellis said some staff members claimed district officials also broke policy regarding “political neutrality” when they allowed the photo to be shared.

“The picture was intended to celebrate a history making day,” Ellis said.

In reference to the apology from Thursday, Ellis added: “The apology the following day was not intended to take away from history or from the picture, but rather to apologize for the impression of some that staff at central office chose to include the picture and did not adhere to political neutrality.”

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