A new civil rights complaint against Carroll ISD alleges district officials have failed to protect students from discrimination due to their race, sex, or gender identity.
The new complaint was filed this week by the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund and co-counsel Arnold & Porter. It was filed on behalf of two organizations, Cultural & Racial Equity for Every Dragon (CREED) and the Southlake Anti-Racism Coalition (SARC), as well as four individual students and their parents.
Katrina Feldkamp, an educational fellow with the NAACP LDF, said the four individuals are currently school-aged students but some have withdrawn from Carroll ISD due to threats and physical violence. The harassment began as early as elementary school, she said.
“These things are hard to hear, but multiple of our plaintiffs were called racial slurs including the n-word and other anti-Black slurs. One student was called 'the help' by his classmates. Other students were referred to by homophobic slurs and assaulted physically. One student, after being called homophobic slurs, was attacked with an item that left welts on his leg,” she said Wednesday. “Despite the fact that school officials have been aware of this harassment for years, they not only have done nothing to support the students enduring that harassment but they actually have begun to limit access to resources and materials that we know reduce the likelihood of discriminatory incidents.”
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In November, the school district confirmed the U.S. Department of Education’s civil rights enforcement office was investigating allegations of racial and gender discrimination at the Carroll Independent School District. At the time, district spokesperson Karen Fitzgerald said the district had received three notification letters and was “fully cooperating with this process.”
“Our focus will always be what is best for our students as we prepare them for their next steps in their educational journey,” she said at the time, noting that federal law prohibits her from commenting on cases involving specific students.
Attorneys for the latest complaint filed this week said the new complaint raises some of the same issues of race and sex discrimination that were raised in the pending federal probe. Regarding the new complaint, Feldkamp said the incidents were not only reported to school officials but in many incidents, school officials were present when the alleged harassment occurred and witnessed it.
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“Nothing was done despite many requests for help both on an individual level, and on behalf of these two organizations,” she said, referring to CREED and SARC.
Asked what this complaint was seeking, Feldkamp said they wanted to see a change in order for the issues to be addressed.
“That includes diversity and inclusion training for students, teachers, and administrators, adopting an inclusive and culturally responsive curriculum, as well as other systemic adjustments like a robust system for addressing discriminatory complaints,” she said.
NBC 5 reached out to Carroll ISD for a comment on the new complaint filed Tuesday. In an email, Fitzgerald said the district has not received any formal document at this time.
"With that said, we are unable to address this without the formal paperwork,” she wrote.
For a summary of the complaint, click here.