Alice Barr

Southlake Dads Discuss Healing Racial Divides Over a Beer and a Handshake

A video showing a group of Carroll ISD students chanting a racial slur went viral in late October

First it was a mom-to-mom conversation and then on Tuesday night, Southlake dads had their turn to talk about healing racial divisions.

This comes after a video went viral showing a group of Carroll ISD students chanting a racial slur. Since then, the community has moved forward one challenging conversation at a time.

"We want folks to be open and honest about, 'Hey, there's an issue, let's address it,'" said Southlake dad Willie Pyle.

With a beer in one hand and the other ready for a shake, the dads of Southlake are tackling a thorny issue head-on.

"Racism is real, it's around us and sweeping it under the rug is not going to help," Southlake City Councilman John Huffman said.

That point became all too clear when a video, that NBC 5 chose to blur, surfaced showing a group of Carroll ISD students chanting a racial slur. 

"After I saw it, I was just appalled. Everyone was," said Southlake dad Neeraj Kalra.

What's come since has exposed open wounds, from Southlake minorities sharing their experiences of discrimination at a special school board meeting, to hundreds of moms trading stories and concerns over coffee with the mayor.

Tuesday night's gathering, on the patio of a Southlake bar, was a little different.

"This is just a relaxed environment, it's no stage, it's no microphone, it's no real agenda," Pyle said.

Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Shawn McCaskill added, "Man to man, shaking hands, looking at each other in the eye and having a good discussion."

Organizers said that's how the search for solutions starts.

"We've become a nation of grievances and Southlake has the ability to get in front of this and be a leader and say, 'We're not going to air our grievances continually, we're going to look for solutions,'" organizer Ronell Smith said.

By finally getting to know the man next door and finding common ground.

"We're going to celebrate the things that are different and we're going to teach our kids to show respect to other cultures, to other communities. Because that's what makes us great," Pyle said.

Carroll ISD is working on a "cultural competency" program including diversity training for teachers. They've also said that the students involved in the viral video have all been disciplined and the school board is making changes to the student code of conduct.

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