In the nationwide battle between parents and the local tyranny of the education establishment, Carroll Independent School District (CISD) in North Texas has again become a flashpoint. This month, district trustees voted to ask that an elementary school teacher be given a letter of reprimand for allegedly telling a student not to show parents what books are in her classroom library without permission.

At the October 4 CISD trustee board meeting, trustees voted 3-2 to request CISD administration give Johnson Elementary teacher Rickie Farah “a letter of reprimand.” This vote stemmed from allegations that Farah told a student not to take classroom library books home without her permission after that student had taken home a book titled “This Book Is Anti-Racist.”

“The whole book is about indoctrinating children, essentially presenting one viewpoint,” said Ashley McCurry, who was involved in last year’s citizen fight opposing CISD implementing a pro-LGBT Cultural Competence Action Plan (CCAP).

Through an intermediary, the student’s mother gave a statement to Texas Scorecard about what happened next, asking that their names be withheld to prevent retaliation from the left for asserting their parental rights.

She wrote that she and her husband met with Johnson Elementary Principal Dr. Rene Moses about the book. “The next morning, my daughter was pulled from class and reprimanded by her teachers for making a bad choice and bringing the book home,” the mother wrote. “Farah … specifically told our child moving forward she would not be allowed to bring any book from the classroom library home unless Farah approved it first.”

The mother alleged “that was a violation of [Texas Education Code] 26.008” and that two other teachers were involved in confronting her daughter. “When my daughter got home that afternoon, she asked me if she was a bad kid for bringing the book home. I did not know that all three teachers had pulled her from class until another mother[,] whose daughter witnessed it[,] called me to ask if my child was OK.”

TEC 26.008 states, “A parent is entitled to full information regarding the school activities of a parent’s child except as provided by Section 38.004.” The statute also reads, “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.”

The mother asked for a meeting with Moses, the assistant principal, and the three teachers involved. The mother said that during the meeting, Farah confirmed telling the student she could not take books home without permission. Texas Scorecard asked Farah to confirm or deny this. No response was received before publication.

In her statement, the mother wrote that during this meeting, she and her husband asked Farah to apologize to her child, but this request “was rejected.”

Both parents later met with now former-CISD Asst. Superintendent Janet McDade. “[She] rejected the idea that the teacher had done anything wrong,” the mother wrote. After consulting an attorney, the family filed a grievance against Farah for violating TEC 26.008, which led to the October 4 board meeting.

Before the October 4 vote, CISD Trustee Sheri Mills gave what McCurry called “an inflammatory speech.”

“I would like teachers to know that if you are worried about teaching in this school district, you should watch this vote,” Mills said. “I want you to know that you are right to be worried by whoever votes yes.” Mills and Trustee Michelle Moore were the only votes against reprimanding Farah.

This isn’t the only time CISD has been in the middle of controversy. Less than two weeks after Farah was reprimanded, NBC promoted an edited audio clip of an October 8 teacher training session attended by her co-workers.

Early voting has started for the CISD trustee election between Andrew Yeager (whom McCurry supports) and Stephanie Williams.

This article has been updated since publication. 

Robert Montoya

Born in Houston, Robert Montoya is an investigative reporter for Texas Scorecard. He believes transparency is the obligation of government.