E-mail from Judson ISD trustee sparks cry of racism
Lindsay Kastner: Express-News
Judson School Board trustee Richard LaFoille sent out an e-mail Tuesday suggesting the United States could prevent unauthorized immigration by digging a moat the length of the border with Mexico and filling it with alligators.
The e-mail, meant to be humorous, was a forwarded message featuring a Hallmark greeting card character known as Maxine. It also protested the singing of the national anthem in Spanish and noted, "If you don't want to forward this for fear of offending someone, then you're part of the problem!"
"I don't care what color you are, black, white, green or purple, if you don't speak English, I don't want to talk to you."
Children in the schools he represents "come up and hug me," LaFoille said. "They like me and I like them."
"I got about three of them last week," he said.
He also noted there are no Anglo Miss America pageants or Anglo college funds.
"It's ridiculous," LaFoille said. "I'm not saying there should be, but have you ever heard of one? And do you think if there was, people wouldn't be screaming that we're racist?"
"It concerns me that an individual thinks those types of things are funny and yet represents our kids and our community," she said, noting she received a couple of similar e-mails from LaFoille about two years ago and asked then that he stop. "He needs to keep it within his circle of friends if that's what he wants to do. I am not in his circle of friends."
Last year, Bagley sent a letter to the Texas Education Agency accusing her fellow trustees of racism for failing to support an African American employee for interim superintendent. The board later hired its first minority superintendent, Willis Mackey, in November.
"She thinks there's racist undertones if you tell her, 'I met a person the other day and they were Hispanic,'" he said.
He said he didn't intend to send the e-mail her way, but Bagley thinks it was "an obvious jab."
"He did not agree in the past with my statements with there perhaps being a race issue in Judson ISD," she said. "He needs to go and find someone else to play with."
"What we do is bring people together in a positive way and certainly not to take political points of view," Odell said.