CARROLL ISD

Newly-Elected Carroll Board Member Vows to Find Middle Ground Amid Diversity Controversy

Student says she's worried things are only getting worse and worse in the once-proud district

NBCUniversal, Inc.

Attention isn't new for Southlake's Carroll Independent School District. The district is known for its high scores both on the football field and the classroom, but lately, they've also been known more for the words from their students of color 

"A lot of people don't understand the struggles we're going through," said Aaliya Mithwani, a senior at the district's sole high school.

Mithwani said she would purposely answer questions wrong in class after being teased about Indian-Americans studying too much. She said slurs and slams happen daily on campus.

"It's not an easy environment to grow up in," Mithwani said.

The teenager said she's worried it will get worse after the latest school board election. Andrew Yeager's decisive win means a majority of Carroll ISD school board members are now backed by the Southlake Families political action committee.

The PAC is a group that has pushed to throw away a list of recommendations to make the district more welcoming of families of color. 

"It was demands," said Yeager, holding up a copy of the plan in an interview with NBC 5. "Maybe it's the communications professor in me, I didn't think that was the way to approach the issues and the school had issues."

Yeager is a sales executive for NBCUniversal Local, the parent company of NBC 5.

He said he thinks for himself, but agreed with the PAC's line that the school district needs a discipline policy and not one for diversity training.

"There was never a procedure if a student felt wronged, whether it was a racial slur or bullying," said Yeager.

In the interview, Yeager stated he was bullied as a kid and changed schools over it. He promised to listen to students of color and search for a middle ground.

Parents working for change aren't convinced.

"Not only has our work ground to a halt we've gone backward," said Pamela Francis, who said members of the PAC have pulled books from libraries that they disagreed with. She said the district she was once so proud of has lost its way. 

When asked if she would recommend the district to others, "I would say to think twice," she said.

Southlake's attention these days hasn't been welcomed by people on both sides of this battle. Yeager vowed to make the board meetings boring again. 

Meanwhile, student Aaliya Mithwani is wondering if she'll ever get to go to class and just be herself.

"It feels like things are just getting worse and worse in Southlake while the world watches," Mithwani said.

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