It's been an emotional week for many in the Southlake community, after an online video went viral showing a group of Carroll ISD students repeating racial slurs.
Friday morning, the Carroll ISD School Board held a special meeting to discuss the matter and to hear from concerned parents.
"As a community, it would be ignorant of us to say that racism does not exist in our schools -- it does," said Board President Sheri Mills. "It exists in our homes. It exists in our churches, our businesses, our community. It exists in our state. It exists in our country. What I hope to accomplish in today's meeting, in this special session, is to pledge together to work as a community to improve our conversations and our expectations."
More than a dozen parents signed up to address the school board in front of a standing room only crowd -- each of them expressing their frustration and hurt over the video, also noting that it's far from the first time racism has reared its head in Carroll ISD schools.
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Kimberly Best told board members about a recent incident where her young black daughter was called derogatory names by another student on the school bus.
"Please don't discount the personal disruptions to all those that are sitting here -- including my children," said Best, with tears running down her face. "Our viewpoints and our voices should not be dismissed. I tried to speak today with as little emotional as I could. But like many of these folks out here, I have lived all throughout this country and I've been called many names as well. This is not a problem unique to Southlake...we are in a climate of high racial tension. And we all need to understand what our words do and how they reflect upon others. We know better. We can do better. Let's teach better."
She and others called on the school board to push for more diversity and inclusion training in all Carroll ISD schools.
"And I say to each of us in this room, whether you're black, white hispanic, I don't care where you're from," said Eric Ransom. "Start having tough conversations and sitting across the table."
Legally, the board could not respond directly to the comments made or take any immediate action on them.
But Mills pledged that the input they received will factor into any decisions they make moving forward.
"Our core values do mean something here at Carroll ISD," said Mills. "As Dragons, we expect excellence. And that begins with how we treat each other."
Although the video was not made on school property or during school hours, Mills noted it has disrupted the educational process this week -- and therefore, it is appropriate for the district to take disciplinary action.
"Yes, it's ugly, it's nasty, it's shameul, and it hurts," said Robin Cornish. "But they've got to sit in it. They must understand the seriousness and the hurtfulness of their actions, and I think a public apology needs to be made."
Once they closed the public comment portion of their meeting Friday, board members met in closed session. The district said the students involved have been disciplined according to the Code of Conduct, but because of student privacy laws, they cannot go into further detail about the punishment.
"When our children make bad decisions, there are consequences for those decisions," said Mills.