On Monday, August 3, the school board for the Carroll Independent School District (CISD) in Southlake, a suburb of Fort Worth, will consider adopting a “Cultural Competence Action Plan.”
The plan is being presented by the “District Diversity Council” (DDC), a group of students, parents, and staff that was formally created by CISD in January 2019 after a video of teen students chanting racial slurs sparked outrage among many students and parents.
A draft of the plan states that it aims to provide “ongoing training and skills for staff and continuous open dialogue opportunities for students as a means to demonstrate our commitment to understanding differences and embracing diversity.”
The 34-page document includes action steps ranging from including “diversity and inclusion training for students as an ‘enrollment to graduation’ process,” to the creation of “a LGBTQ+ student focus group (grades 9-12) to provide dialogue and discussion on topics important to their group.”
The plan also seeks to implement a system for campus administrators to track “microaggressions,” which the document defines as, “everyday verbal or nonverbal, snubs or insults, whether intentional or unintentional, which communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to target persons based solely upon their marginalized or underrepresented group membership.”
For the 2020-2021 school year, the estimated cost of the program is $425,000, with an annual estimated cost of $250,000 for the following four years, resulting in a five-year total of $1.4 million.
“Carroll ISD has applied for a federal grant in excess of $330,000 that would provide additional funding, resources and personnel to support the Cultural Competence Action Plan,” noted the DDC.
According to the DDC, the grant application included an outline for the “addition of two victim advocate counselors assigned to work with students (and staff) who are victims of discrimination.”
The status of the grant will be updated in October. However, budgetary requests will be made at a later time, as the board will only consider authorizing the next steps to put the plan into action at Monday’s meeting.
“If approved by the board, this will only give our Superintendent the authority to begin the implementation of the plan. He will then have to go back to the board to obtain funding for those specific items, such as the funding for a new position, the Director of Equity and Inclusion,” Avery Schoenhals, a member of the DDC, told The Texan.
The plan has drawn criticism from some parents and conservative activists.
“This is extreme government overreach,” Tim O’Hare, a parent to three CISD students and the treasurer for the Republican Party of Texas, told The Texan. “No one supports mistreating others, but the stuff in here is so far left-wing, it only represents a tiny minority of our community.”
Texas Values, a conservative advocacy group, argued that several aspects of the plan will lead to future controversies.
“These types of policies will ensure that curriculum is taught championing LGBTQ issues, punishing Christian students who have sincere beliefs on marriage and gender, and could even expand to the issues of men in women’s locker rooms, or competing on girls’ sports teams,” stated the organization.
Texas Values also criticized an action step in the plan to “[e]xpand the Dragon Tip Line/Carroll ISD Let’s Talk app to include equity/inclusion as a category to communicate concerns,” saying that such a tool “will allow students [. . .] to ‘snitch’ on any opposition to LGBTQ issues.”
“The policy will create an environment that pits students against each other and antagonizes Christian students who hold a biblical worldview,” said Texas Values.
A petition has also been circulated urging residents to oppose the plan and request the school board to delay consideration for six months.
Currently, the school board is planning to consider the plan on Monday during a virtual meeting that begins at 4:00 p.m.
The DDC says that after the plan is presented to the school board, it “will be handed over to the Strategic Planning Committee to incorporate into the district’s updated plan during the spring of 2021. That group will integrate the CCAP into the district’s overall five-year Strategic Plan.”
Editor’s Note: This article was updated from its original version to clarify that the CISD board will not be considering budgetary requests at its August 3 meeting.
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Daniel Friend is a reporter for The Texan. He participated in a Great Books program at Azusa Pacific University and graduated in 2019 with a degree in Political Science. He has studied C.S. Lewis’s science fiction trilogy and in his spare time you might find him writing his own novel partly inspired by the series.