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3 Carrollton-Farmers Branch teachers placed on leave after racist language about Asian Americans used on test, district says

The district called the words used on a social studies test "derogatory and hurtful." Three teachers are on leave while officials complete their investigation.

CARROLLTON, Texas — Updated at 11:49 a.m. Thursday with details about an online petition created by the DFW Chinese Alliance. 

The Carrollton-Farmers Branch Independent School District has placed three teachers on administrative leave while it investigates an incident where inappropriate language about Asian Americans was included on a test, officials said.

The district tweeted a statement Wednesday morning that said the inappropriate language was used on a secondary social studies test. 

"The words used on the test question were derogatory and hurtful," the statement partially reads. 

The incident came to light when the older sister of a sixth-grader at Blalack Middle School saw her sister taking a virtual social studies test.

“I looked over my sister’s shoulder and I saw this question that just blew me away,” said Joy Lim, a CFBISD alumni. 

Credit: Joy Lim

Lim said her sister was uncomfortable answering the question filled with stereotypes and racism against Chinese people. She quickly snapped a photo of the inappropriate question, shared it on Twitter, and contacted the district.

“I don’t understand who thought this was OK,” said Lim. “If these teachers were Asian American teachers, that question would not have been on the quiz.” 

She is concerned about the diversity training that educators at CFBISD are receiving. 

With the rise in hate against Asian Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic, Lim, a Korean American, didn’t want her sister to experience discrimination at such a young age. She said it’s worse because this hate came from her teachers at school.

“I’m just glad that I was home to catch it,” said Lim.

Lim hopes to use this as a learning moment for her younger sister to teach her to speak out against hate and racism.

The DFW Chinese Alliance launched an online petition Thursday demanding that the following actions be taken by the school district.  

  • The three teachers who openly used racist language must be fired immediately.
  • Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD must issue an official apology to the Asian students, parents, and communities. 
  • Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD must implement improved Diversity-sensitivity training to its teachers and student bodies immediately.

"We are disappointed that the ISD has not taken corrective measures to demonstrate that they take racism against Asians seriously," the DFW Chinese Alliance said online. 

The school district said actions or language disrespecting any people group are not acceptable and do not represent its core belief system.

RELATED: Texas ranks 4th in anti-Asian incidents; how to stop the hate

The school district said it recently launched a diversity training initiative for staff. It's unclear if the training was launched before or after the incident. 

"The district will enhance these training opportunities in an effort to create a more inclusive and respectful environment," the statement reads. 

"The nearby Asian communities are deeply hurt by the fact that Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD has allowed Asian-Hate into their classrooms and we are disappointed that the ISD has not taken corrective measures to demonstrate that they take racism against Asians seriously," the DFW Chinese Alliance said. 

Over the past month, several community members in North Texas have brought awareness to the hate crimes against Asian Americans. 

Last week, Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson proclaimed March 26 as "Stop Asian Hate Day" in the city. Two rallies were hosted over the weekend. 

Christine Lee, who attended one of the rallies, had a message not just for the dozens on hand for a "Stop Asian Hate" rally, but for the entire country. 

“I am not just Korean American," Lee said, her voice full of emotion. “I am Korean and American -- two beautiful cultures interwoven in me." 

RELATED: 'It's about human rights issues': City of Dallas hosts two 'Stop Asian Hate' rallies

Earlier this month, the owner of Detour Doughnuts and Coffee made #StopAsianHate doughnuts to raise money and awareness for the AAPI community. 

"We need to show up for our people, and this is the best way I know how," said owner Jinny Cho. 

She donated the money from her #StopAsianHate doughnuts to Support the AAPI Community Fund. She also matched what her customers bought.

RELATED: Frisco doughnut shop's special raises awareness about racism against Asians in US

According to Stop AAPI Hate, between March 2020 and February 2021, nearly 3,800 incidents of anti-Asian hate were reported, 103 of them in Texas. 

On Sunday’s Inside Texas PoliticsState Representative Gene Wu, D-Houston said he hopes that recent violence and racism against Asian-Americans will result in more political involvement by the minority group.

“This is a big problem for the Asian-American community because a lot of the places that the Asian-Americans come from – a lot of their home countries, their home cultures – have this sort of pervasive ideology, pervasive philosophy of ‘Hey, you just need to keep quiet," said Rep. Wu 

If Asian-Americans have learned anything recently, Wu said, it’s that staying quiet isn’t working.

“It does not protect you. Being the model minority does not protect you. Your number just didn't come up yet, and in 2020, our number came up,” Wu explained. “Just like the Jewish community, the Muslim community, the Black community, the Hispanic community, the LGBTQ community, we were targeted. Our number came up, and we were targeted for violence and we got it. I think a lot of our community finally understands that just being quiet does nothing for us. Silence is death.”