EducationLocal NewsCarroll School District’s Diversity Plan Halted by Temporary Restraining Order

Litigation alleging Open Meetings Act violations related to the Cultural Competence Plan in Carroll ISD resulted in temporary prevention of taking further action on the plan.
December 10, 2020
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Carroll Independent School District (CISD) must halt any further consideration of its Cultural Competence Action Plan (CCAP) until further notice, according to recently issued court orders.

A temporary restraining order (TRO), issued on November 30, is part of the ongoing lawsuit against CISD alleging that its board members violated the Texas Open Meetings Act (TOMA) by conducting communications about CCAP outside a public meeting.

The order, which was issued by Tarrant County Judge Josh Burgess, found that the plaintiff, Kristin Garcia, has a probable right to relief under TOMA. Burgess was the designated judge to hear motions for TRO and granted it, setting a temporary injunction hearing for December 14.

CISD filed a motion to dismiss the case, but that motion was denied by the trial court. CISD is appealing that decision with the Second Court of Appeals in Fort Worth, and it has also filed a petition for a writ of mandamus, which contests the validity of the TRO.

The Second Court of Appeals clarified this week that the TRO will remain in place until further notice by the appellate court and that the injunction hearing set for December 14 is postponed until further notice as well.

The Texan Tumbler

The original suit alleges that the CISD board members violated the Texas Open Meetings Act through a series of text messages which amounted to secret deliberations regarding a matter of public business — the Cultural Competence Action Plan.

The TRO orders “the CISD Board must cease from taking any further administrative action to advance CCAP. Defendant CISD Board shall not permit CISD or any subcommittee of Defendant CISD Board, including the CISD District Diversity Council, to take any further action concerning CCAP. All CISD administrative work to advance CCAP, including work to clarify, revise, publish, or implement CCAP, shall immediately cease.”

CCAP is touted as a plan to address racial issues and was proposed by the District Diversity Council. It has come under criticism from members of the community as having a political agenda that could infringe on parental rights and punish students who don’t adhere to more progressive ideologies.

In an open letter to the district, interim Superintendent Dr. Jeremy Lyon criticized the lawsuit and the temporary restraining order. “Tuesday’s TRO ruling represents a deliberate roadblock by those taking legal action. It halts our efforts to hear community concerns and move forward in resolving this issue for the good of current and future Dragons,” the letter states.

In response, the plaintiff’s attorney, Dusty Fillmore, told The Texan, “The TOMA allegations do not address the merits (or lack thereof) of CCAP. Ms. Garcia’s lawsuit is a lawsuit to enforce TOMA, which the CISD Board has violated. If the CISD Board actually considered the work of the DDC to be important, they should have been careful to comply with TOMA. If CCAP gets derailed because CISD violated TOMA, that is not the fault of Ms. Garcia.”

CISD’s superintendent’s office declined to comment on the pending litigation.

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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.