Department of Education opens civil rights investigations in Texas school district

The Department of Education has opened three investigations in a Texas school district after complaints were filed alleging discrimination against students on the basis of race, gender and national origin.

The department’s Office for Civil Rights informed officials at the Carroll Independent School District in Southlake, Texas last week that it was launching three investigations into allegations of discrimination, according to NBC News.

While an agency spokesperson declined to provide further information about the allegations to the network, the school district has made headlines in recent years for its handling of the discrimination allegations.

The district came into the spotlight three years ago after a video circulated of white high school students singing the N word, NBC News reported, prompting a host of parents, students and alumni to publicly tell their stories of racist bullying. and anti-LGBTQ.

The incident also led to the district vowing to enact reforms and address reports of racism, an effort they ultimately failed to complete, according to NBC News.

In August 2020, the district introduced a 34-page Cultural Competency Action Plan calling for widespread training on diversity, a new strategy to track examples of racist harassment, and alterations to the code of conduct that would have held students accountable for discrimination.

However, conservative parents rejected and prevented the changes, claiming they would have established a “diversity police” to “reverse racism” against white students, the network reported.

Opponents of the initiative formed the Southlake Families PAC, which has endorsed conservative candidates for the school board and has since gained majority control, according to NBC News.

Since then, the district has made some changes, the network noted, including establishing a division of services for students and staff to ensure that children of different backgrounds are comfortable filing complaints of harassment and discrimination.

Karen Fitzgerald, a spokeswoman for the district, confirmed to NBC News that the district received three notification letters from federal investigators, adding that they are “fully cooperating with this process.”

“Our focus will always be the best for our students as we prepare them for their next steps in their educational journey,” Fitzgerald told the network, noting that he is not allowed to comment on specific student-related cases, according to the federal agency. law.

The district made headlines last month when a senior administrator warned teachers that if they teach a book focused on the Holocaust, they should also include a book that has an “opposite perspective.”

Pressured by a teacher on how to oppose the Holocaust, Carroll Independent School District Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction Gina Peddy said, “Trust me, that has come up.”

Also last month, the district changed its policies on which books teachers can keep in their classrooms after some parents complained about the book “This book is anti-racist,” saying it violated the “morals and faith” of their family. .

The Hill contacted the Office for Civil Rights and the Carroll Independent School District for more information.

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