A former Dallas Independent School District (DISD) student was allegedly bullied and ridiculed by fellow students in a mock “slave auction,” his mother claimed in an interview with The Dallas Express.
Leslie Armijo, whose 12-year-old son used to attend William B. Travis Academy/Vanguard for the Academically Talented and Gifted, claimed that a group of students were in the lunchroom when one of them suggested they could “sell” her son and make money from him.
They then allegedly started a mock bidding. The one who “bought” him allegedly said that he was now his sex slave, according to Armijo.
She and her son had previously campaigned for certain sitting school board trustees and were disappointed in their lack of reaction to his claims of bullying.
Trustee Maxie Johnson, who spoke to Armijo and her son at a school board meeting in November, oversees the district where William B. Travis is located.
“Maxie (Johnson) reached out to them and said he was outraged,” Armijo said, who recounted that Johnson planned to meet with her son to talk to him.
But then, according to Armijo, his willingness to help appeared to fizzle out.
“It was a weird conversation,” she said. “He never emailed and never reached out to me about the meeting.”
The inconsistent response from the trustee highlights the leadership challenges facing DISD, given the district has an elected leadership seemingly resistant to the concerns of district students, parents, and teachers alike.
The Dallas Express reached out for comment from Johnson but did not receive a reply by press time.
Armijo stated that she told the school about the bullying but was told by administrators that the incident did not happen.
“I sent an email to the principal that night,” Armijo said. “There were no safety protections … no stay-away orders.”
She claimed none of the kids who were involved would admit the incident even happened. Afterward, Armijo said she went to the Dallas Police Department to file a police report, but they referred her to the DISD Police Department.
The school reportedly chose not to pursue an investigation, which Armijo said was disappointing. She said its messaging about racism and community was “just for show.”
Armijo claimed the students repeatedly addressed her son with a racial slur — substituting the letter “M” for “N” — when they were told not to do so.
“One kid hit him with half a lacrosse stick,” claimed Armijo, who took her son to the emergency room after the alleged incident in October and filed a police report with the DISD Police Department.
Hospital records obtained by The Dallas Express read that Armijo’s son sustained “upper left arm pain and bruising.” He was discharged in stable condition.
According to Armijo, the school said it did not have lacrosse sticks available on campus, so it closed the case. Armijo and her son insisted that the physical attack happened. Afterward, the school reportedly called Child Protective Services (CPS) on Armijo, who alleges the call was retaliatory.
Armijo said she spoke to CPS over the phone, but afterward, the agency told her it was referring the case from the school district to the Dallas Police Department and closing its portion of the investigation.
The Dallas Express reached out to CPS and did not receive a comment back. The agency’s website notes that case records are confidential by law.
Eventually, Armijo said the bullying got so bad her son had to switch schools.
Armijo’s son spoke in front of the DISD Board of Trustees in November and insisted that the mock slave auction took place, sharing his experiences with the board members.
“It did happen,” he said. “So, for the school to say it didn’t happen makes me wonder.”
When speaking with The Dallas Express, a DISD spokesperson claimed they could not provide any information about the alleged incidents due to student privacy laws.
Armijo said she was continually worried about her son’s safety at William B. Travis, claiming he missed class because he was in the hospital due to the alleged incident with a lacrosse stick.
“I worried about something much worse happening to him,” she said.