EducationElections 2022Local NewsCarroll School District Elections Remain Battleground Over Race, Gender Issues

Carroll ISD remains a battleground for control of its school board over issues of race and gender between conservative candidates and those focusing on "equity" and "inclusivity."
April 20, 2022
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Carroll Independent School District (ISD), most of which lies in the City of Southlake in northeast Tarrant County, continues to be a battleground over issues of race and gender that are concerning and dividing parents across the country and state.

Concerned parents organized a political action committee, Southlake Families, originally to fight against a cultural competence action plan (CCAP) proposed for the district. CCAP has been rejected as part of a legal settlement and several Southlake Families-endorsed school board trustees elected, but the battle continues.

Southlake Families continues to fight for “conservative principles” and rejects “recent campaign smears” calling the town “racist.”

Two school board seats are up for election in May and the races feature candidates on opposite ends of the spectrum.

Southlake Families is backing Andrew Yeager and Alex Sexton. Yeager was elected to fill an unexpired term for Place 7 in November, but now is running for the full term of office. Sexton is running to fill Place 6, currently held by Todd Carlton.

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Last spring, Carlton was indicted, along with fellow board member Michelle Moore, by the Tarrant County grand jury for ​​conspiracy to circumvent the prohibition against secret deliberations.

Yeager is a media sales director and adjunct professor who has resided in Southlake for eight years and has one current student in Carroll ISD. His campaign website promises he will work for the “academic excellence” and “responsible fiscal management” of the district. 

Sexton is a veteran who attended the Citadel and has a Master of Business Administration. With three students in Carroll ISD, he says Carroll schools should “focus on teaching kids how to think, not what to think.”

Yeager and Sexton are endorsed by the current Southlake mayor and most of its city council members, as well as Rep. Beth Van Duyne (R-TX-24).

Two candidates running for the seats also are Laura Durant in Place 6 and Stephanie Williams in Place 7.  

Durant, a mother of two students in Carroll ISD, has a degree in English and is currently completing her first fellowship with Leadership ISD, a nonprofit whose vision is to equip “community leaders to advance academic excellence and racial equity in public education through advocacy, policy, and school board governance.”

Williams ran against Yeager in the special election in November. She is the mother of four children, two of whom are currently enrolled in Carroll ISD, and has a Master’s degree from the University of Colorado. One of her platforms is to “ensure ALL students feel welcome and safe at school.”

Williams and Durant are endorsed by Southlake Anti-Racism Coalition (SARC), “a coalition of current and former Carroll students demanding systemic, anti-racist change in Southlake Carroll ISD.”  SARC announced its official endorsement of Durant on its Facebook page, saying, “If you want a more inclusive and safe environment for your children, vote for Laura!” The group supported the controversial CCAP.

Durant is the founder of Love Every Dragon, a website and Facebook page that is said to support LGBTQ students, parents, and educators. It has published articles like “You Might be Non-Binary If…” and “How to Find a Queer Therapist.” On her Facebook page, Durant posted last month about packing a go-bag of essentials in case a child is “kicked out” after coming out to parents. Some parents are also concerned that Durant’s Love Every Dragon page has “dens” a student can join to find LGBTQ resources and the website gives no assurance of parental oversight.

Durant and Williams were also endorsed by Dignity for All Texas Students (DATS), a group “committed to overseeing the passing of a [diversity and inclusion] plan in Carroll schools.” It said of Williams, “Not only does she advocate for diversity and inclusion in CISD, but she also supports our public schools, educators and students.”

Williams posted a photo of herself on Facebook wearing a “FReadom” t-shirt. The #FReadom movement called a letter by Rep. Matt Krause (R-Fort Worth) that requested information from school districts about the contents of their library collections a “war on access to information, a constitutionally protected first amendment right.”

Among the titles in stacks behind Wiliams on the Facebook post is “Gender Queer,” a controversial graphic novel containing explicit images, including of sexual interactions between minors and adults.

School board elections are May 7, with early voting beginning on April 25.

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Kim Roberts

Kim Roberts is a reporter for the Texan in the DFW metroplex area where she has lived for over twenty years. She has a Juris Doctor from Baylor University Law School and a Bachelor's in government from Angelo State University. In her free time, Kim home schools her daughter and coaches high school extemporaneous speaking and apologetics. She has been happily married to her husband for 23 years, has three wonderful children, and two dogs.