On the same day conservatives voted in a new school board president for a Texas district, the U.S. Department of Education opened three investigations into allegations of racial and gender discrimination in the district.
An Education Department spokesperson confirmed the Official of Civil Rights investigations into the Carroll Independent School District, located in Southlake, north of Dallas.
The investigations related to discrimination based on “race, color, national origin, or sex,” but offered no further details, The Texas Tribune reported.
Congratulations to Southlake’s new mayor John Huffman, city council members Amy Torres Lepp and Randy Robbins, and school board trustees Hannah Smith and Cam Bryan! pic.twitter.com/8LK2pnnpqi
— Shawn McCaskill (@ShawnMcCaskill1) May 2, 2021
A third Southlake Families PAC-endorsed candidate, Andrew Yeager, won convincingly in a special election earlier this month, creating a conservative majority on the school board.
— Southlake Families (@SouthlakeFamPAC) November 3, 2021
On Monday, the board voted Eric Lannen as president, KXAS-TV reported.
Lannen serves on Southlake’s Crime Control & Prevention Board and has been a supporter and volunteer for Young Life Ministries for over 30 years.
The Southlake Families PAC came together in response to the District Diversity Council’s 34-page document called Cultural Competence Action Plan, released in August 2020.
According to the document, the council was formed after a 2018 video surfaced of some Southlake students “chanting a racial slur during a party held at a private residence after Homecoming.”
“Contrary to its name, the District Diversity Council supports very little diversity of thought. This biased committee came up with their 34-page document, containing a 153- point action plan, that includes some of the most extreme liberal positions in the history of Texas public education. Much of this plan was actually written by senior CISD administrators, and then approved by the DDC,” according to the Southlake Families website.
“No parent wants a child to be bullied or to experience acts of racism. The disagreement over CCAP is not whether bullying or racism should be addressed and dealt with appropriately, but whether CCAP, an overreaching and highly political plan seeking to indoctrinate children according to extremely liberal beliefs, is the answer.”
The proposal would mandate social justice training, punish “microaggressions” toward minorities and require students to take a “cultural competence test” among other requirements, according to Southlake Families.
A county judge granted a restraining order in December 2020 blocking the implementation of CCAP from going forward.
NBC reported that Yeager’s victory is seen as a de facto final decision on whether the Carroll ISD would implement the plan.
Throughout his campaign, the father of three warned that implementing CCAP along with additional demands made by the student activist group Southlake Anti-Racism Coalition would ruin Carroll’s “tradition of excellence.”
It is one of the top-performing districts in the state, according to NBC.
“If these demands were implemented, this would no longer be an excellent school district,” Yeager said at an October candidate forum. “This would be a school district that would be placing equity over excellence.”
The district’s former school board president, Buddy Luce told KXAS that the Southlake Anti-Racism Coalition helped prompt the Education Department to launch its investigations into Carroll ISD.
“The credit goes to a group of Carroll alumni and the Southlake Anti Racism Coalition who documented hundreds of testimonies by students on what’s going on and the way that’s been swept under the rug is, I think, the reason why I think the Department of Education Civil Rights Division is having to take this action.”
Robin Cornish, a mother who raised her children in the district, told the news outlet, “No one is trying to bring a liberal agenda, we’re trying to have a safe space for our children. They deserve to go to school no matter their gender preference.”
Karen Fitzgerald, a Carroll spokeswoman, confirmed that the district received the Education Department notifications and is “fully cooperating with this process,” regarding the investigations.
Southlake Mayor John Huffman said in a Wednesday statement posted on Facebook, “I don’t think I am alone in wondering if this investigation is retaliation for our voters rejecting the pro-CRT CCAP plan, especially since the threat to involve the federal government was made by some CCAP supporters to the media.”
“As Mayor, I can tell you that Southlake is a wonderful, welcoming community,” he added. “We see it in the diversity of our business leadership, our community events and our everyday interactions with our friends and neighbors. Many of the issues raised in the national media took place years ago. The stories that seek to weaponize them all these years later do not accurately represent the values of our community.”