Educational books

Department of Education opens civil rights investigation in Texas school district

The Department of Education opened three investigations in a school district in Texas after filing complaints alleging discrimination against students on the basis of race, color, national origin or gender.

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

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

The neighborhood was in the spotlight three years ago after a video of white high school students chanting the N word was released, NBC News reported, causing a wave of parents, students and alumni. students publicly telling their stories of racist and anti-LGBTQ bullying.

The incident also prompted the district to pledge reforms and tackle reports of racism, an effort they ultimately failed to complete, according to NBC News.

In August 2020, the district presented a 34-page cultural competency action plan calling for widespread diversity training, a new strategy to track instances of racist bullying and changes to the code of conduct that allegedly held students responsible for discrimination.

However, conservative parents pushed back and prevented the changes, saying they would have put in place a “diversity police” to “reverse racism” against white college students, the network reported.

Opponents of the initiative formed the Southlake Families PAC, which supported Conservative school board candidates and has since won majority control, according to NBC News.

The district has since made some changes, the network noted, including creating a division of student and staff services to make sure children from all walks of life feel comfortable reporting allegations of harassment and discrimination. .

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

“Our focus will always be what is best for our students as we prepare them for the next steps in their educational journey,” Fitzgerald told the network, stressing that she was not permitted to comment on cases involving students. specific, according to the federal government. law.

The district made headlines last month when a high-level administrator informed teachers that if they are teaching a book focused on the Holocaust, they should also include a book that has an “opposing point of view.” .

Pressed by a teacher on how to oppose the Holocaust, Carroll Independent School District Executive Director of Curriculum and Education, Gina Peddy, said, “Believe me, it does happen. “

Also last month, the district changed its policies on which books teachers are allowed to have in their classrooms after some parents complained about the book “This Book is Anti-Racist”, claiming it violates the their family’s “morals and faith”.

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