SOUTHLAKE, Texas — A self-proclaimed Christian conservative cell phone company donated new ‘In God We Trust’ signs to be hung in a prominent location at every Carroll ISD school.
On Monday, the district accepted the donation from Patriot Mobile, which is connected to Patriot Mobile Action, a political action committee that spent roughly half a million dollars on school board races in Tarrant County this year.
“A full 15% of Patriot Mobile’s employees live here in Southlake,” chief marketing officer Scott Coburn said at the meeting. “We live here. Our kids attend school here.”
“I’m concerned that we’re creating an environment that’s becoming less welcoming by the day,” Stephanie Williams, a former candidate for Carroll ISD’s board said in an interview Tuesday.
Williams was defeated by board trustee Andrew Yeager, who received tens of thousands of dollars of ads from Patriot Mobile during his campaign.
Recently, at CPAC in Dallas, a convention for the right-wing conservatives, the company’s founder, Glen Story, boasted about money it spent to elect 11 conservatives on the boards of Carroll, Keller, Grapevine-Colleyville and Mansfield school districts.
The company buys its plans wholesale from carriers and then resales them to consumers at a higher price. It them uses part of the profit to donate to Christian conservative causes. For instance, the company’s website advertises an unlimited plan for $75/month, while AT&T has a similar plan advertised for $65/month.
“We are a Christian conservative cell phone company and we take a portion of our proceeds and donate back to conservative causes,” Story said in an interview. “COVID did us well, because it opened our eyes to the communist regimes out there that want to take over our children.”
“That is just not what public school is about,” Williams said. “It’s a place that’s welcoming to all religions, all faiths, all sexual orientations, genders.”
The district is currently facing five discrimination investigations from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights. WFAA reached out to Carroll ISD regarding concerns over the mobile provider’s involvement as well as the signs but the district instead sent details on the law requiring it to prominently display each sign.
Only three parents spoke at Monday’s meeting, all in support of the signs.
“There’s a lot of criticism of course going on on social media and I just want to take this opportunity to remind everybody, that last year admin allowed ‘BLM’ signs on the senior high campus for about a semester,” Kelly McGuire said.
Williams says parents who have pushed for change are worn down from speaking up but believes the signs are just beginning of a movement towards more religion and politics in schools.
“We’re continually sending the wrong message to our community,” she said. “I just want it to be a warning sign to other communities as well.”