Southlake, Texas Schools Investigated Over Racial Discrimination Claims
In SummaryA civil rights probe has been launched into a Texas school district on claims of discrimination.
The civil rights division of the U.S. Department of Education has opened three investigations into the Carroll Independent School District in Southlake, Texas, on the grounds that it discriminated against students based on race, gender and national origin, per NBC News.
Brett Sokolow, president of the Association of Title IX Administrators, an organization that advises school districts on how to settle civil rights complaints, said the Office for Civil Rights initiating an inquiry is often the start of a lengthy process. If the investigation reveals students’ rights have been violated, the agency can order a school district to make policy changes and submit to federal oversight.
The Carroll school system’s handling of discrimination complaints has drawn national media attention in recent years, with the district committing to make significant reforms to combat racism in the district.
Three years ago, the district was thrust into the spotlight after a video of white high school students yelling the N-word was released. The video prompted dozens of parents, students and recent graduates to speak out against racist and anti-LGBTQ harassment they experienced at Carroll, a mainly white school system that has become more diverse in recent years.
When the district proposed the Cultural Competence Action Plan in August 2020, Conservative parents formed a political action group and funded a civil lawsuit to stop the changes, which included diversity training for all students and teachers, a new process to report and track incidents of racist bullying and changes to the code of conduct to hold students accountable for acts of discrimination.
Carroll Superintendent Lane Ledbetter said efforts are being made, though, as he and his staff were overhauling the student complaints process to ensure students of all backgrounds feel safe reporting harassment and discrimination. In addition, the district established a student and staff services division to address the issue.
“No students should feel unsafe,” Ledbetter said, per NBC News. “And we’re going to address that. But as a whole, I absolutely believe that people are proud of this community and proud to be a part of Carroll ISD.”