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Fort Bend ISD responds to false claims made in Houston Chronicle article published Tuesday (8/13/2019)

FORT BEND ISD (August 13, 2019) – Fort Bend ISD is responding to an online article published in the Houston Chronicle in which activists falsely claim that Fort Bend ISD has built over an area designated as a historic cemetery and where the remains of 95 individuals were discovered in early 2018. Fort Bend ISD has not built over any portion of the historic cemetery – and has no intention of doing so. The District eliminated a planned wing of the James Reese Career and Technical Center that would have encroached upon the cemetery area to preserve the historic cemetery.


Full statement from Dr. Charles Dupre, FBISD Superintendent of Schools:


“It has been nearly two years since the first remains were discovered, and we believe the time has come to put these individuals to rest.


Discussions with the county have been ongoing throughout the summer, and both the FBISD Board of Trustees and County Commissioners Court have approved key terms of an interlocal agreement. It was during these discussions that the county suggested that the District reinter the remains prior to the conveyance of the cemetery to the county.


Since Fort Bend ISD is now moving forward to reinter the remains prior to conveyance of the cemetery to the county, there is no longer a reason to give the county money. However, some outstanding legal issues have precluded a final agreement being reached.


Fort Bend ISD is still hoping to convey the cemetery and 10 acres of land, at no cost to county taxpayers, for cemetery operations and future memorialization. And we look forward to continuing our conversations with the county soon, so that the county may publicly share plans they have developed for this important memorial park and education center.


We remain committed to partnering with the county to educate students, our community and future generations about convict leasing and the Sugar Land 95. It is time to lay them to rest.”

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Photograph: Career and Technical Center, original design. The cemetery boundaries are outlined in red.