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Texas School District Violated Civil Rights in Racial Discrimination Case

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Texas School District Violated Civil Rights in Racial Discrimination Case

The U.S. Department of Education is set to negotiate with the Carroll Independent School District (CISD) after four students filed discrimination case complaints against the district.

In response to the complaints, the department’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR) has reached out to the Southlake, Texas, district to begin negotiating a resolution agreement within a 90-day period.

The complaints highlight serious allegations of racist and homophobic slurs and comments aimed at the four students during their time in Carroll schools. The students have since graduated or left the district, but they reported experiencing discrimination, harassment and bullying.

One student claims they faced retaliation after reporting racial discrimination to school officials, while another struggled with suicidal thoughts after being repeatedly mocked for their sexual orientation. Families of the students say the district failed to adequately address the bullying.

Two advocacy groups, Cultural & Racial Equity for Every Dragon (CREED) and the Southlake Anti-Racism Coalition (SARC), express concern about the emotional and mental toll on students from the district’s hostile environment. The groups, representing Black parents and former students, seek accountability and change in CISD.

Terrance Jones, one of the complainants, expressed hope that the district would finally take action for its students of color. “I think it’s good Carroll may be pushed to finally do something for its students of color,” Jones said. “Just wish it happened while I was there.”

Angela Jones, a Black mother and longtime advocate for minority students in the district, hopes for meaningful change. Jones and fellow advocates have faced pushback from board members and conservative parents accusing them of promoting a far-left agenda in schools.

She believes the agency’s involvement could lead to important changes. “I hope they’ll take it seriously and re-evaluate and negotiate,” Jones said.

The allegations began in 2018 after a viral video showed white high school students shouting the N-word, leading numerous Carroll parents and students to share stories of discrimination. The controversy prompted the school board to create a committee, which included Angela Jones, to develop a Cultural Competence Action Plan.

The plan aimed to introduce mandatory diversity training for teachers and students and amend the student handbook to prohibit harassment based on race, gender, and sexual orientation.

After its implementation in 2020, conservative parents and activists formed the Southlake Families PAC to oppose the plan, raising substantial funds to support conservative candidates who ultimately gained majority control of the school board in November 2021.

LDF Assistant Counsel Katrina Feldkamp expressed satisfaction with the Department of Education’s acknowledgment of civil rights violations in CISD schools. “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 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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