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Southlake Carroll ISD superintendent addresses civil rights investigation

Carroll ISD Superintendent Lane Ledbetter livestreamed remarks on Facebook to "make a few things clear" regarding the investigations.

SOUTHLAKE, Texas — Southlake's Carroll Independent School District's superintendent has issued a statement one day after the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights announced it opened three investigations into the district following allegations of racial discrimination.

Carroll ISD Superintendent Lane Ledbetter livestreamed remarks on Facebook to "make a few things clear" regarding the investigations.

In his nine-minute remarks, Ledbetter explained that the complaints the Office for Civil Rights were filed in April last school year, and the district was notified on Wednesday that the investigations into the complaints would begin. He said at this point, the district has not seen the contents of the complaint, but it has been asked to provide information. 

Ledbetter stressed that "no determination has been made by the Office (for) Civil Rights with respect to the validity of these complaints at this time."

"So at this point, they received a complaint. It met the guidelines. It falls under their jurisdiction. So, they’re notifying us that they need additional information," he said during his remarks. 

Ledbetter said on Thursday that the complaints came before the district "spent a lot of time over the summer working on processes and procedures" when it comes to investigating claims of harassment and discriminations. 

"But certainly, in those processes, our priority was to ensure that the comments, the concerns voiced by our students were validated, that they were listened to, that they were addressed and that we follow up with those students on those concerns," Ledbetter said. "We don’t tolerate discrimination or harassment or bullying. Because we will not tolerate. And we feel like what we’ve put in place will help to address many of the concerns that I heard in the many conversations I had last spring."

Ledbetter added that "if (the Office for Civil Rights) determines that there are steps that we can take beyond what we have implemented, then we will absolutely comply."

The address come at a time when Southlake has drawn a national spotlight in recent months, in particular over the debate of critical race theory, despite professors and school districts across the state saying it's not taught in K-12 schools.

In October, a report from NBC News said a district leader asked teachers to offer students books with an "opposing perspective" of the Holocaust.

Carroll ISD’s headlines started years ago, though, after two separate videos of students chanting a racial slur went viral.

Parents and leaders created a diversity and inclusion plan called the Cultural Competency Action Plan or CCAP, which is now stalled by a lawsuit. The last three elected board members ran on a platform of stopping that plan.

Despite the attention, Ledbetter said his "priority has always been on creating the best environment for all students. And creating really an environment where students are challenged to strive to high levels of excellence."