After news of the 25-year-old man who posed as a North Texas high school student gained national attention, many are left wondering how he was able to pull it off and why he did it.
Sidney Bouvier Gilstrap-Portley was able to fake his way into Dallas ISD’s Hillcrest High School as 17-year-old Rashun Richardson and won a spot on the varsity basketball team with his advanced skills.
“It’s a classic case of what we as sociologist refer to as arrested development,” explained Sociologist Janice Bishop-Lamelle. “In someone’s adulthood, if maybe there aren’t the accomplishments that they thought they would achieve by now, it can cause them to long for what they perceive as the glory days or the good old days.”
Gilstrap-Portley faked being a 17-year-old so he could play basketball at Hillcrest High School. He was apparently also taking different shots off the court and allegedly became enamored with a female student.
The student’s mother, who did not want her face shown, shared texts from the suitor she thought was 17 that showed his desire to meet her daughter's grandfather who was concerned about their relationship.
In the texts, the young girl said: “I mean do what you feel is right, but my mom talk to him last night so he knows.”
Gilstrap-Portley texted back, “Oh, well I don’t know. I just want y’all comfortable. I really like you and wanna see you be successful. For real.”
The girl then responded with, “I know you do Rashun” and a heart emoji.
“Well the psyche of that is ‘I’m going to fully emerge myself into the role of being a 17-year-old,’ but he himself knows he’s 25,” explained Bishop-Lamelle. “Which is why I believe he was asking for the parents’ permission or consent, even the approval of the grandfather.”
When the girl’s mom expressed her concerns to Gilstrap-Portley about his age in a text and that she wanted to meet him, he responded with, “I would like to meet you as well so that you can feel at least a little comfortable with her being around me. I always talk to her about how you would feel. That’s why when we went to the park and had her home before 8:45 so you won't think nothing extra going on, like trying to respect you and not be a typical male.”
“He's become an actor playing this role. So in his mind when he’s in that environment, he’s a 17-year-old,” said Bishop-Lamelle. “But I also think there was the default of knowing who you really are, which is largely why I think he was asking for the parents’ consent or permission to date her.”
The district, the state and local police are all investigating adding to the strange facts of the story.
Sources tell FOX 4 while Gilstrap-Portley began missing many school days after basketball season ended, he did show up to take the STAAR test as Rashun Richardson.
Gilstrap-Portley was actually a 2011 graduate of North Mesquite High School. He was arrested over the weekend on a felony charge of tampering with government documents. He has since bonded out of jail.