ASHFORD, Ala. (WDHN) — Ashford parents and students say they want justice after explicit messages between several high school teachers were leaked by a student Thursday.
The leaked portion of the group chat, titled “Bad A B’s,” starts with a teacher speaking about a student named Anastasia Williams (all students mentioned here have given consent to be identified) possibly being pregnant.
The teachers, who will remain unidentified due to possible legal issues caused by the way the texts were leaked, then comment on how quiet Anastasia is and how she doesn’t really speak up much and how she isn’t the sharpest student.
“I guess she mime sex?” one teacher wrote.
They then continue to speculate on other students’ sex lives before another teacher calls a former Ashford High student, named Preyun Snell, a racial slur.
“That n—– so slow he can’t walk and chew gum,” this teacher said.
The recorded portion ends with a teacher saying she wants to “b slap” a person known as “RK,” although it’s not clear whether RK is a student or a school employee.
According to the student who leaked the messages, who we spoke to on the phone, he saw the chat after a teacher gave him her phone during school hours. He then saw what was going on, screen recorded it, and sent the video out to numerous people.
Shortly after WDHN was notified of this group chat’s existence by numerous parents through social media, students and parents gathered outside the high school, angry at the teachers’ conduct.
“Two of the teachers that’s in the group chat, I can’t believe that they was actually in the group chat because I’d never think they’ll be like that, but the other ones, I think they’ll do it,” said Venissa Wilson, Preyun’s aunt.
Both Preyun and Anastasia said they were upset about what the teachers said, although Anastasia said she got an apology from a teacher that spoke about her.
“She was like she didn’t mean anything that she said or anything like that,” Anastasia told WDHN.
Preyun said he had a bad experience with Ashford High due to racial incidents in the past. He also said he knew the teacher that called him the racial slur and did not think she used words like that.
“I don’t like this school, period,” he said. “They racist, all of these folks racist.”
“That goes to show that every time when he was letting them know they was being racist to him, that it was true when the principal was saying it wasn’t,” Wilson said. “It had to be true for you to put this in the group chat.”
Multiple parents, some off-camera, said there were some incidents in the past where teachers had behaved inappropriately around students, spraying students’ chairs because of smell and calling students less fortunate. They also said children have come home talking about gossip about others that they heard from teachers.
Wilson, an alumna of Ashford High School, said she experienced issues back when she was a student there.
“I stood up to them,” she said. “I stayed back and forth from alternative school because I came to learn, and with the teachers doing the same thing when I was in, I just did my days and (came) back because you ain’t gonna bully me.”
One parent said she was concerned about how the incident may agitate racial tensions among the student body.
Wilson’s son Michael Johnson, who goes to Ashford High, said he was upset over how teachers, who are supposed to be mentors, were talking about students in a certain manner.
“This is a real slap in the face, you know, because you never know if someone comes to the school doing something they have no business doing, you know, the teacher might think in her head, ‘Well, I’m not going to protect this student the way I’m going to protect this one,’ so that’s the way it really makes you feel about this,” Michael said.
You can watch an extended interview with Anastasia, Preyun, and Wilson in the video above.
When WDHN called Ashford High School Thursday afternoon, the person on the phone said no one was available to comment on the matter.
However, Preyun and Wilson said they were just told the situation was being handled.
“It’s not going to get handled because all the rest of the incidents haven’t been handled,” Wilson said.
They were also told by students that the teachers were escorted out by law enforcement, although that was not officially confirmed. When asked whether it was wrong that violence was expected, Wilson said the teachers shouldn’t have been afraid because they’re “bad a–.”
In fact, a parent at the scene played a recording of an unidentified teacher defending her right to talk to other teachers. It is not known where this recording came from, though, and we were unable to obtain the recording to play for our readers.
Houston County Superintendent David Sewell did speak to us, saying that the school system was just informed of the group chat’s existence around the same time WDHN was.
Sewell said an investigation is underway and that they should have a response ready by Monday.
Multiple people said that for things to be made right, all the messages in the chat should be released so they can know if more children were mentioned. They also want strict action against all the teachers involved and retaliation toward the students whose parents spoke out against the conduct.
“My message to y’all (is) a lot of y’all need to clean house with these teachers and get rid of them,” Wilson said.