EducationLocal News‘Diversity Plan,’ Parental Rights Among Top Issues in Upcoming Carroll ISD School Board Election

A district “diversity plan” and attitudes toward parental rights are front-facing issues as Carroll ISD residents will go to the polls to fill a school board vacancy.
October 6, 2021
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The Cultural Competence Action Plan (CCAP) and parental rights are front and center as Carroll Independent School District (CISD) residents go to the polls again for a special election to fill a vacancy left by the resignation of Dave Almand from the school board in July.

The election will be held on November 2 with early voting beginning on October 18.

Two candidates have filed to fill the position: Stephanie Williams and Andrew Yeager.

Williams is a member of Dignity for all Texas Students (DATS) that is committed to passing the controversial CCAP in CISD as a diversity and inclusion plan that will “provide a safe environment where students can take risks, make mistakes, and grow from experience.” She has spoken at school board meetings in favor of CCAP, saying, “Critical race theory is not in CCAP.” She has also declared that “CRT is not taught in CISD and will not be taught in our district.” 

However, Southlake Families, a political action committee that has endorsed Yeager, opposes CCAP because they believe it creates more problems than it claims to solve. They say its sections relating to microaggressions are especially problematic, where students are “permanently penaliz[ed]…for unintentional verbal or nonverbal actions.” The group also opposes critical race theory and its outgrowth from being promoted in CISD.

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Critical race theory has its roots in Marxist philosophy and examines society with race and racial hierarchy as the primary concern for societal ills. It then seeks to deconstruct cultural institutions it defines as racist. 

Although the theory itself may not be taught in local school districts, its critics say it lays the foundation for divisive identity politics that group people as either victims or oppressors. Language that grows out of CRT can often be found in curricula and training materials related to diversity, equity, and inclusion, like CCAP, or social and emotional learning concepts.

Yeager says on his website that “I will also work to ensure our primary focus is on education, not indoctrination. Students should be taught ‘how to think,’ not ‘what to think.’” 

CISD parent Sarah Muns is supporting Yeager because she believes he will defend parental and student rights more than his opponent. Muns and her family recently endured a 10-month long episode which resulted in the school board voting 3 to 2 earlier this week to grant their grievance request and issue a formal letter of reprimand against a teacher.

During the last school year, Muns’ daughter brought a book home from her class library that had content Muns found inappropriate for her daughter’s age and grade level. When she brought the book to the principal’s attention, Muns’ daughter was taken from class, reprimanded, and told that, moving forward, she was not allowed to take a book home from class without prior teacher approval. 

According to Muns’ account to The Texan, the teacher admitted that she had reprimanded the child and issued the rule about prior approval. Muns and her husband consulted an attorney who said this action violated Texas Education Code section 28.006, which states “An attempt by any school district employee to encourage or coerce a child to withhold information from the child’s parent is grounds for discipline[.]”

It was then that the Muns family decided to file a formal grievance with the school district, which eventually reached the CISD school board. Muns pointed out that the Texas Education Code states, ”Parents are partners with educators, administrators, and school district boards of trustees in their children’s education.”

She is supporting Yeager because she believes he will join recently elected school board members Hannah Smith and Cameron Bryan, as well as Eric Lannen, in defending the rights of parents. 

At this week’s specially-called meeting about the grievance, board member Sheri Mills said, “I want to let teachers know if you are worried about teaching school in this school district that you should watch this vote. I want you to know that you have the right to be worried by whoever votes yes to this vote.”

Muns said that Mills’ statement demonstrated to her that if a teacher admits to violating the Texas Education Code, Mills won’t hold her accountable or defend parental rights. 

“All school board elections are important,” Muns remarked, “and it is important to have advocates for children on the school board.”

“I am committed to effectively representing the interests of Carroll ISD parents, while simultaneously supporting our teachers and helping deliver the goal of great education for all Carroll Dragon students while maintaining a commitment to sound fiscal practices,” Yeager’s website states.

On the other hand, Williams doesn’t address parents’ involvement in the platform statements on her website. It does state, “Whether it’s following the science around issues related to COVID-19 to protect the most vulnerable among us or listening to mental health experts to protect the marginalized in our community, students must feel safe, heard, and welcome so they can reach their fullest potential, academically or otherwise.”

On her website, Williams touts her experience as a classroom teacher and volunteer in her children’s schools. She is currently a fitness instructor who has lived in Southlake for seven years. Almand has endorsed Williams as his replacement.

Yeager, an eight-year resident of Southlake, is a media sales director and adjunct professor. He also lauds his volunteerism in the community. Yeager is endorsed by all seven members of the current Southlake city council and two members of the CISD school board. 

According to recently filed campaign finance reports, the two candidates have similar fundraising numbers. Yeager has received about $31,000 in contributions while Williams has received about $27,000. 

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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.