The investigation into a 25-year-old man who posed as a Hillcrest High School student athlete continues, even as Dallas ISD schools close their doors for the summer.
Besides an ongoing examination by the district, the University Interscholastic League and the Dallas Police Department are also looking at the case of Sidney Bouvier Gilstrap-Portley, who posed as a 17-year-old and enrolled at Hillcrest for parts of the 2017-18 school year.
Gilstrap-Portley claimed he was homeless and a Hurricane Harvey victim, while in reality he had graduated from North Mesquite High School in 2011, authorities say. Between his claim of not having a home and Hillcrest’s recent open-door policy for Hurricane Harvey transplants, Gilstrap-Portley was able to “slip through the cracks,” and enroll as a high school student under the name Rashaun Sidney Robinson, officials said.
[pullquote-left]“This is a unique situation that shows us areas that need improving when we open our doors to students in times of need.” -Chris Bayer[/pullquote-left]
Playing against actual 17- and 18-year-olds, he starred for the Hillcrest basketball team until a coach from North Mesquite, Gilstrap-Portley’s alma mater, recognized him. He was then arrested on a felony charge of filing false enrollment documents.
Robyn Harris, news and information director for Dallas ISD, said district officials are waiting for the UIL to move forward on the Gilstrap-Portley case before commenting on possible policy changes aimed at preventing a similar enrollment.
“We’ve put a team together to look at everything from our side,” Harris said. “Once we get everything pulled together we’ll give it to the school board. There’s potential that they could discuss this at a future meeting, but we aren’t issuing any sort of policy update at the moment.”
Safety within schools is a high-priority issue across the country following a recent string of mass shootings, including one at Santa Fe High School in May. While nothing has been set in stone, multiple officials close to the story of Gilstrap-Portley have mentioned increased safety measures when speaking of possible policy reform due to the 25-year-old’s fraudulent enrollment.
In a note to students and parents following Gilstrap-Portley’s arrest, Hillcrest principal Chris Bayer said, “the safety of our students at Hillcrest High is our top priority.”
“We believe it is absolutely essential that every young person, especially in times of great difficulty, feels safe and secure, and that was the guiding principle when we were welcoming students displaced by [Hurricane Harvey],” he wrote. “This is a unique situation that shows us areas that need improving when we open our doors to students in times of need. Safety is always our top priority, and we are reviewing our policies to strengthen district efforts while still helping those who are in need.”
The Dallas ISD board of trustees meets twice a month, but will not meet during the month of July. Officials could discuss policy change related to Sidney Bouvier Gilstrap-Portley before school resumes in August. Visit prestonhollowpeople.com for updates.