Human rights

Federal government launches civil rights investigation in Southlake Carroll schools, NBC reports

The US Department of Education has launched a civil rights investigation into allegations of racial and gender discrimination in schools in Southlake, NBC News reported.

The Federal Office of Civil Rights has informed the Carroll School District – which has been at the center of an ongoing firestorm over how to deal with diversity and inclusion – that it has opened three investigations.

The agency did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The morning news from Dallas.

Carroll ISD spokesperson Karen Fitzgerald confirmed to NBC News officials “are fully cooperating in 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,” she said.

The wealthy, predominantly white neighborhood – the subject of a six-part NBC podcast – has become a symbol of what the backlash against “critical race theory” looks like.

The district recently came to the nation’s attention after an administrator advised educators to teach students about the Holocaust from “opposing” perspectives, according to an audio recording obtained by NBC News.

Administrators also voted to reprimand a teacher who gave one of his students a book on anti-racism titled This book is anti-racist: 20 lessons on how to wake up, act and get the job done by Tiffany Jewell. The book is a New York Times Bestseller.

Last week, in a video message to parents and students, Superintendent Lane Ledbetter pledged to no longer focus on unifying the city towards uniting the school district. Ledbetter has been in his position for less than a year.

“My job is to take care of our staff and ensure that we provide world-class education in a safe environment for our children and staff,” Ledbetter said in the video. “And I apologize for being distracted.”

Ledebtter’s first year as superintendent was embroiled in controversy over the district’s proposed diversity and inclusion plan called the Cultural Competency Action Plan. The plan – intended to make the neighborhood more inclusive for students of color – was drafted by a board of more than 60 parents, students and staff after videos of Carroll students chanting the n-word went viral in 2018 and 2019.

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