Carroll ISD halts work on Cultural Competence Action Plan following court's temporary restraining order

Members of the Carroll ISD board of trustees listen to community input on the Cultural Competence Action Plan during a public forum on Sept. 28. (Sandra Sadek/Community Impact Newspaper)
Members of the Carroll ISD board of trustees listen to community input on the Cultural Competence Action Plan during a public forum on Sept. 28. (Sandra Sadek/Community Impact Newspaper)

Members of the Carroll ISD board of trustees listen to community input on the Cultural Competence Action Plan during a public forum on Sept. 28. (Sandra Sadek/Community Impact Newspaper)

A Tarrant County district judge issued a temporary restraining order against members of the Carroll ISD Board of Trustees to cease all administrative actions on the school district’s Cultural Competence Action Plan for 14 days.

An emergency motion for the temporary restraining order was requested by Kristin Garcia, who filed a civil suit against the district on Sept. 2 over alleged violations of the Texas Open Meetings Act.

The order signed by District Judge Josh Burgess on Nov. 30 requires all work on the plan, including clarification, revisions, publication or implementation, to cease. The order applies to the Board of Trustees and any involved district subcommittees.

A motion requesting the temporary restraining order came after Interim Superintendent Jeremy Lyon sent an email asking the volunteers serving on the District Diversity Council to continue work on the plan.

“Go back into work the subcommittee previously completed and revisit it. If there are revisions, make them,” Lyon wrote in a Nov. 12 email attached as an exhibit in court documents.


The judge’s order states that by moving forward with revisions, the board “is attempting to deprive the plaintiff of the remedies available to her under” the Texas Open Meetings Act.

In an online statement released to the public on Dec. 2, Lyon addressed the temporary restraining order. He wrote that although the district plans on complying with the order, it will work to overturn it because of a lack of clarity as to what the order entails.

“Tuesday’s [temporary restraining order] ruling represents a deliberate roadblock by those taking legal action,” Lyon said in the statement. “It halts our efforts to hear community concerns and move forward in resolving this issue for the good of current and future Dragons.”

Lyon also addressed the ongoing legal action against the school board for alleged violations of the Texas Open Meetings Act.

“These allegations have nothing to do with the work of the [District Diversity Council] and rather serve as an attempt to discredit and derail this important work,” he said in the statement. “In fact, much of the dialogue and information that was circulated about the DDC’s plan by those who oppose it was a deliberate misrepresentation of the plan’s contents and purpose.”

Dustin Fillmore, lead attorney in the suit against the district, declined to comment on the case or on Lyon’s statement.

The Texas Open Meetings Act requires “meetings of governmental bodies to be open to the public, except for expressly authorized closed sessions and to be preceded by public notice of the time, place, and subject matter of the meeting,” according to a handbook on the state law.

The lawsuit was filed after the release of a series of text messages among five board members discussing how to approach the Cultural Competence Action Plan before a scheduled Aug. 3 board meeting.

State law requires such board discussions to be held in public. The judge’s order references these conversations held prior to the board meeting as “secret deliberations.”

The five-year action plan was created by the District Diversity Council after videos surfaced online of Carroll ISD students using racial slurs in the fall of 2018 and in February 2019. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the first draft presentation of the plan to the school board came at that Aug. 3 meeting.

The plan touches on several topics, including promoting cultural competence within the school district, advocating for and supporting culturally competent and responsive programs and policies as well as engaging students, staff and faculty in collecting feedback on cultural competence within the district.

Following strong opposition from some community members, the board pledged to hold off on taking any action on the plan until a new superintendent was hired. On Nov. 20, the board announced that Lane Ledbetter, a Carroll ISD Class of 1989 graduate, was the lone finalist for superintendent. He is expected to be confirmed on Dec. 11 following a 21-day trial period.

A court hearing is scheduled for Dec. 14 to consider a temporary injunction in the civil lawsuit.
By Sandra Sadek
Sandra Sadek covers the cities of Grapevine, Southlake and Roanoke as well as Carroll ISD for Community Impact. She graduated from Texas State University where she majored in journalism and international relations. She has experience working for several local papers including the University Star, the Katy Times, and the Fort Stockton Pioneer. When she's not on the ground reporting, she enjoys a good book and a hot drink. Follow her on social media @ssadek19.


MOST RECENT

hotel room
New Hilton Garden Inn opens in Grapevine as city's first tri-branded hotel

The new Hilton Garden Inn hotel will be adjacent to the current Courtyard by Marriott and the TowneSuites by Marriott near Bass Pro Court in Grapevine.

The program, which began this week in San Marcos, gives Amazon and Whole Foods employees and contractors direct access to COVID-19 vaccinations. (Courtesy Amazon)
Amazon begins rollout of statewide vaccination clinics for employees

The program, which began this week in San Marcos, gives Amazon and Whole Foods employees and contractors direct access to COVID-19 vaccinations.

The Spicy Fried Chicken Sando is one of several offerings on Fuku's menu. (Courtesy Fuku)
Fried chicken kitchen opens in Plano; The Heritage Table to reopen in Frisco and more DFW-area news

Read the latest business and community news from the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

climbing wall
Grapevine Summit Climbing Yoga to break ground on new facility

Summit Climbing Yoga and Fitness will break ground for a new facility on April 22 as the business marks 20 years in Grapevine.

Federal funding is set aside for public schools to address effects of the pandemic. (Courtesy Adobe Stock)
Why Texas has not yet distributed $18 billion in federal funds intended for public schools

As budget decisions loom for school districts across Texas, state leaders are holding on to federal funds intended for public schools to use in addressing the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Electric Reliability Council of Texas said power outages are not expected April 13, while requesting energy conservation. (Iain Oldman/Community Impact Newspaper)
UPDATE: ERCOT call for energy conservation ends April 13 without need for power outages

An ERCOT official said "tight" supply and demand conditions arose on the state's electric grid April 13 due to forecasting issues amid planned, seasonal maintenance outages by some power generators.

construction zone
Tarrant County still deciding how to choose projects to include in upcoming transportation bond

April 16 is the deadline for Tarrant County municipalities to submit project ideas for the $400 million transportation bond measure that voters will consider in November.

vaccine administered
COVID-19 update: Tarrant County vaccine appointments canceled at last minute

Residents scheduled to get the Johnson & Johnson vaccine at AT&T Stadium April 13 received last-minute notice that their appointments were canceled, according to a Tarrant County briefing.

The chain has several restaurants in Texas, including two in College Station. (Courtesy I Heart Mac & Cheese)
I Heart Mac & Cheese coming to Highland Village; Gyro Shop opens in Frisco and more DFW-area news

Read the latest business and community news from the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommended health providers pause distribution of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine April 13. (Olivia Aldridge/Community Impact Newspaper)
State, federal health authorities recommend pause of Johnson & Johnson vaccine after 6 rare, severe blood clots

Hub providers in Dallas, Harris and Travis counties have all announced they will follow the recommendations and pause distribution of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

Grapevine looks to build on its local esports community

Efforts include the expansion of GCISD's esports program to middle schools this fall, along with the opening of an Esports Academy this summer at the local library.

hand dropping voter ballot into box
Voters prepare for local May elections in Grapevine, Colleyville and Southlake

Races on the ballot will include mayoral races for Grapevine and Southlake, city council races for all three cities, and school board seats for Grapevine-Colleyville ISD and Carroll ISD.