Frisco ISD

Data Shows Frisco ISD Punished Black Students More Than White

District hires staff member and forms committee to help improve how they handle issues of race

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Parents of Black students in Frisco Independent School District say the district is finally addressing a complaint they've had for years.

The Texas Education Agency asked the district to take action after data shows Frisco was suspending more African-American Special ED students, than students of other races.

The district found data showing all Black students were suspended more than white.

Leslie Fossett raised her two sons in Frisco ISD. One in special ed, one not, but she said both of her boys were treated differently than white students.

"All of us have complained about one thing or another, district, policies how they've handled one thing or the other with the students," said Fossett.

Fossett was not surprised by the data reviewed from TEA showing Black students makeup 11% of the student population but account for 35% of out-of-school suspensions.  

"It's something talked about quite a bit at the school amongst African-American parents. When I read it, it was like, 'duh,'" said Fossett.

Since hearing the news in September, Frisco has formed a committee to look at the issues and hired Nikki Mouton to head up a strategy of equity and diversity in their schools.

"It's going to be a continuous improvement method for us to dig in and determine what those real issues are," said Mouton.

Since the issues dealt with discipline, Chief of Student Services Erin Miller said they're looking at how punishments are handed out and making sure they're changing their mindset.

"Two kids get into a fight, you get two days of in-school suspension, two days out of school. We're not talking about intent or if you're defending yourself, that's changed, we're looking into those factors, we're going to go deeper into that before we just suspend a kid," said Miller.

Both Mouton and Miller acknowledge the data could give the impression that the district is unfair to Black students.

"I think it's easy to read a headline and say that's what's going on but that's not what we see going on. Our educators, teachers, and administrators, we get in this business because we love kids, all kids, and that's what we see happening," said Miller.

Fossett's sons are both out of school but she said this is a conversation she's tried to have for years with district leaders, after seeing her son disciplined more harshly than his white peers.

"The answer we always got was we can't discuss another kids incident with you which I get, but when you have proof these are discrepancies, of things that are happening," she said.

The district says listening to those stories is important and like so many others in America, they are looking at how they handle race and bias and pledging to improve.

The district has a loose timeline set to have concrete new policies discussed this school year and in place by the beginning of the next school year. 

"We are really excited to make sure we have the voices at the table to make our solution right," said Mouton.

"It's time", said Fossett. "I'm happy for all the kids that will come, but on a personal level it's too late for me and mine."

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