After months of a North Texas school district ignoring citizen opposition to a controversial Cultural Competence Action Plan (CCAP), judges have now intervened on behalf of the citizens. The interim school superintendent denies allegations that the district violated the Texas Open Meetings Act and announced that it is spending taxpayer dollars to fight citizens in the courts.
On November 30, Judge Josh Burgess of the 153rd District Court in Tarrant County granted citizen Kristin Garcia’s request for a Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) against the Carroll Independent School District, halting implementation of the controversial CCAP.
“The lawsuit itself is procedural. It has very little to do with the substance of CCAP, but the means by which they pushed through the plans,” Garcia told Texas Scorecard.
She has objections to the substance of the plan, as well.
“I personally feel the whole victimhood mentality is a real problem,” she said. “The microaggressions that are listed are hugely vague and punitive. I’m a minority, my children are minorities, and yet I don’t want this. It’s not effective. It doesn’t develop resiliency in children.”
“I’m not looking for someone to make me a victim just because I’m Cuban.”
Judge Burgess wrote that Garcia “asserted” and produced supporting evidence of violations of the Texas Open Meetings Act (TOMA) by Carroll ISD board trustees before their August 3 vote to “receive” CCAP and start holding workshops.
Further reading of the TRO says that after Garcia’s suit was filed—despite the board later voting to reverse their August 3 decision—the school district is still moving forward with CCAP:
Indeed, Plaintiff’s evidence confirms CISD administration is rushing CCAP forward in an effort to drastically change the status quo and render any future judgment in this case ineffectual. The evidence demonstrates CISD Interim Superintendent Lyon directing CISD’s District Diversity Council to move forward with revising and clarifying CCAP to enable CISD to officially publish CCAP prior to December 19, 2020. Further, Defendants have filed documents with the Court containing statements that lead the Court to believe that CISD intends to implement CCAP in the very near future.
On December 2, the 153rd District Court intervened again on Garcia’s behalf, with Judge Susan McCoy granting Garcia’s “Emergency Motion for Expedited Discovery.” Carroll ISD now must turn over internal communications involving CCAP and documents related to district policy on TOMA to Garcia’s attorney.
Garcia may also conduct oral depositions of defendants between December 8-11.
Taxpayer-funded Carroll ISD previously hid from CCAP-related open records requests sent to them from parents by billing exorbitant amounts for those records.
After Judge McCoy’s action, interim Superintendent Dr. Jeffrey Lyons sent off an email to Carroll ISD citizens. “CISD intends to fully comply with [the TRO] although the order lacks clarity about what it entails,” he wrote. “For that reason, our attorneys are working to overturn the order.”
He also disputes that CCAP was still being implemented after the August 3 vote.
Citizen Mitchell Ryan wasn’t pleased. “A letter like this is something that a real leader writes and then deletes,” he said, “not sends to thousands of parents.”
“After seeing the opposition to the CCAP, the people pushing for the program have done everything they can to remove public involvement because they know these ideas and concepts are incredibly unpopular with the community,” Ryan added.
When asked if he felt the board was listening to citizens yet, Ryan gave an emphatic “no.”
“They see this tidal wave of opposition, who are passionately against what they are trying to do. And instead of backing down to promote unity, they just plow ahead,” he said.
Parents were more upset when they learned elements of the plan were being implemented despite the August 3 vote.
They became enraged after learning the school district, in an effort to help fund CCAP, sought grant money meant for abuse victims.
A court hearing is set for December 14.
As the next session of the Texas Legislature approaches, Jeremy Newman of Texas Home School Coalition says the way forward is increasing educational freedom and protecting the rights of families to raise their children as they see fit.
He provides a number of action steps Texans can take as the next legislative session approaches on January 12, 2021.
Carroll ISD board trustees did not respond to press inquiries from Texas Scorecard before publication time.
Concerned citizens may contact Carroll ISD board trustees:
Michelle Moore: firstname.lastname@example.org
Todd Carlton: email@example.com
David Almand: firstname.lastname@example.org
Danny Gilpin: email@example.com
Eric Lannen: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sheri Mills: email@example.com
Matt Bryant: firstname.lastname@example.org