Investigation Finds Texas School District Violated Civil Rights After Years Of Racial Discrimination Against Black Students 

The U.S. Department of Education wants to negotiate with the Carroll Independent School District (CISD) after four students filed civil rights complaints, prompting lawyers to suggest the agency pushed the allegations aside

In a letter to the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund (LDF) defending the students, the agency’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR) department revealed they have contacted the district in Southlake, Texas, to begin negotiating a resolution agreement in the four complaints, giving them 90 days. All four students have either graduated or left the district after being subjected to a number of racist and homophobic slurs and comments while attending a Carroll school. 

One student admitted to being the victim of retaliation after reporting racial harassment to school administrators, while another had suicidal thoughts after being repeatedly mocked by fellow students over his sexual orientation. 

His family claims the district did nothing to address the bullying. 

According to the letter, members of Cultural & Racial Equity for Every Dragon (CREED) and the Southlake Anti-Racism Coalition (SARC) are concerned about the emotional and mental damage students sustained by CISD’s hostile environment. Both groups, one consisting of Black parents and the other of current and former students with first-hand experience, want the district to be held accountable. “I think it’s good Carroll may be pushed to finally do something for its students of color,” Terrance Jones, a complainant, said. 

“Just wish it happened while I was there.” 

One Black mother, Angela Jones, has been advocating for years, hoping that changes will be established within the district, adding protections for minority students. As the mother of a former student who filed a complaint, she was ridiculed by board members and conservative parents who accused her and fellow advocates of pushing a far-left political agenda into classrooms. “They’re saying to the district, ‘You didn’t do it on your own, so we’re going to come in and make some recommendations for you to do it differently,’” Jones said. 

“I hope they’ll take it seriously and re-evaluate and negotiate.”

Allegations began in 2018 after a video went viral showing white high school students shouting the N-word, forcing dozens of Carroll parents and students to come forward to tell their stories of lingering discrimination. After the controversy began, the school board formulated a committee of volunteers, including Jones, to come up with strategies to address the problem, resulting in the Cultural Competence Action Plan. 

The plan pushed for mandatory diversity training for teachers and students, along with adding changes to the student handbook with a focus on banning harassment on the basis of race, gender, and sexual orientation, among other changes. 

After the plan was implemented in 2020, conservative parents and activists formed a political action committee called Southlake Families PAC, promising to defeat the diversity plan and elevate “Judeo-Christian values” in the school district. The group received hundreds of thousands of dollars to support conservative candidates, as well as launched ads that attacked opponents and accused them of being radical leftists. 

The support allowed them to win majority control of the Carroll school board in November 2021. 

LDF Assistant Counsel Katrina Feldkamp said the group “is pleased” that the agency is recognizing the civil rights violations within Carroll ISD schools and hopes that changes will finally come. “After three long years, we are pleased to see that OCR has recognized the longstanding civil rights violations in Carroll ISD schools. Black, brown, and LGBTQIA+ students deserve schools that not only prevent and respond to harassment but that create a safe and supportive environment for all students,” Feldkamp said. 

“As the 90-day resolution negotiation period begins, we are hopeful that CISD and OCR will work to adopt the policy changes that CREED, SARC, and Southlake families have demanded for years.”

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