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US Department of Education investigating two more discrimination complaints against Carroll ISD

There are now five investigations by the department's Office of Civil Rights into complaints over discrimination at Carroll ISD.

SOUTHLAKE, Texas — The U.S. Department of Education is investigating two more complaints of discrimination at the Carroll Independent School District in North Texas.

"The complaints allege violations of race, sex and disability discrimination," the department said in a statement to WFAA.

According to the department, there are now five federal investigations into Carroll ISD being conducted by the Office of Civil Rights.

The first three investigations were opened in November 2021 and those involved "allegations related to discrimination based on race, color, national origin, or sex."

All the investigations remain ongoing.

The Department of Education said the Office of Civil Rights is not able to provide further details on the complaints.

Two former students at Carroll ISD told WFAA back in November that they experienced racism in the district.

“It was a challenging, challenging experience," Robin Cornish said. “My son got into an argument with a kid and was told, 'how do you get a Black out of a tree, you cut the rope.'”

“The use of the 'N word' is very common in hallways," Raven Rolle, who graduated in 2019, said. “It’s really defeating and exhausting of going through this cycle of trying to do something good and it just gets worse.”

Both Cornish and Rolle said they weren't surprised by the investigations.

“It’s kind of like a relief because it’s been so tough for me and so many other students going to Carroll," Rolle said. 

After news of the federal investigations in November, Carroll ISD Superintendent Lane Ledbetter responded by saying, "no determination has been made by the Office (for) Civil Rights with respect to the validity of these complaints at this time."

Ledbetter said 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.

"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."

The district had been in the national spotlight toward the end of 2021. In October, a report from NBC News said a district leader asked teachers to offer students books with an "opposing perspective" of the Holocaust.

In February 2022, a nonprofit legal organization had filed a complaint against Carroll ISD, claiming that the district created a hostile environment for students of color and LGBTQ+ students.

In the administrative complaint, filed by the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, Inc., it says the district is, "forcing students to endure severe and pervasive race and sex harassment in order to access their education." The group has filed the complaint with the Office of Civil Rights.

Individuals and organizations within Carroll ISD reported incidents where students were subject to slurs, threats and demeaning treatment, according to the complaint.

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