Ramos, representing District 1, has served on the board since 2013 and has been an especially focused advocate for what he called “creating greater equity” for students within the district.
On his candidate website, Ramos praised the district for “implement[ing] training and restorative measures to eliminate roadblocks for our most vulnerable populations.”
In 2016, the board established the advisory Racial Equity Committee (REC) “to study district practices and policies, and to offer suggestions for improvement.”
Several parents have filed a grievance asking for that committee to be disbanded. Todd Daniel, a parent who filed the grievance, believes the committee is promoting racism in the schools instead of working to eliminate it.
They also complained that one of its members, Norma Garcia-Lopez, who has since resigned, shared their personal information in an attempt to “incite individuals to harass” them, a practice commonly known as “doxing.”
One basis for the grievance is a board resolution passed in 2020 “introducing the Division of Equity & Excellence for the purpose of fighting against systemic racism directly.”
Warren Norred, the attorney representing the parents, said at the grievance hearing on February 22 that the resolution “screams racism.” He has concerns that the REC isn’t even legal given the recent law, Senate Bill (SB) 3, passed in September and prohibits a school district from “requir[ing} or mak[ing] part of a course inculcation in the concept that: (i) one race or sex is inherently superior to another race or sex; (ii) an individual, by virtue of the individual’s race or sex, is inherently racist, sexist, or oppressive, whether consciously or unconsciously.”
Norred stated that he believes that the school district is violating the law with its statements about the district’s “institutional racism” and “commitment to removing policies and practices that uphold white supremacy.”
The board did not take any action on the grievance at the February 22 meeting. After its Level 1 grievance hearing in December, the board sent a letter to the parents stating that “the various components of the district’s work, including that related to the REC, is undergoing review to ensure compliance with SB3.”
Daniel said they may elevate the grievance next to the Texas Education Agency’s commissioner, Mike Morath.
Another recent development is that the REC meetings have been removed from the FWISD public calendar and appear to be private, with no public allowed to attend.
Roxanne Martinez, a trustee and member of the committee, confirmed this.
“The FWISD Racial Equity Committee meetings will not be posted or public. As with other meetings where there is no quorum of Trustees present, the Open Meetings Act nor Board policy require that the meeting be posted or open to the public,” she wrote in response to an inquiry by The Texan.
Attorney Bill Aleshire, a volunteer attorney with the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas and expert on the requirements of the Texas Open Meetings Act, said that if the Racial Equity Committee is an advisory committee only and does not make final decisions, it does not fall under the requirements of the Texas Open Meetings Act.
He added that “transparency produces better results in government and secrecy breeds distrust and suspicion. The more controversial the subject matter, the more transparency there should be, in my opinion. But I don’t see anything unlawful about the committee’s operation.”
During his resignation speech, Ramos also lauded the establishment of My Brother’s Keeper and My Sister’s Keeper for students in FWISD. My Brother’s Keeper groups were formed in 2014 by former President Barack Obama in response to the killing of Trayvon Martin to “work together to solve problems for boys and young men of color.”
Carlos Turcios, a graduate of FWISD and former chapter leader of My Brother’s Keeper, said he liked the approach of the group to promote “fiscal responsibility and try to empower and uplift young men to not do drugs and focus on academics.”
However, Turcios saw a decidedly left-wing bent toward social justice and activism at chapter meetings which troubled him. “If it were politically neutral, it could be a beautiful organization.”
Ramos also came under criticism in February for not being attentive to the public speakers at a board meeting but instead reading a book.
When confronted by a member of the public about it, Ramos said, “You don’t own me. You’re not my constituent.”
Daniel is glad to see Ramos’ resignation. “He was openly rude to the public during public comments. We are glad he resigned. He’s a bully and the biggest problem. He brought Scribner and these horrible equity policies into the schools,” Daniel told The Texan.
A special election will be held to replace Ramos who said he plans to focus on his career and his family.
Update: The article has been updated to include a comment from Martinez.
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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.