KEY POINTS

  • The school board election was one-sided
  • Candidates in favor of diversity plan "not surprised by the outcome"
  • Southlake grabbed national headlines in 2018 over a racist video

As the U.S. continues to grapple with racism and fatal police shootings of Black people, opponents of anti-racism education have won big in Southlake, Texas, school board election. This comes as a setback amid calls for change in the country and a broader national reckoning over racism following the murder of George Floyd by a white police officer in Minneapolis.

Southlake, a historically conservative city where about two-thirds of voters supported President Donald Trump last year, grabbed national headlines in 2018 when a clip of some white Carroll high school students chanting the N-word went viral. 

Officials in the affluent Carroll Independent School District had last year introduced a proposal to curb racial and cultural intolerance in schools. However, voters stood behind a slate of school board and City Council candidates who were against the plan.

Over 9,000 people voted on Saturday, three times as many as in similar contests in the past, NBC News reported. The contest was one-sided. In the Southlake school board election, candidates in the city were divided between two camps -- a bitter campaign reflecting a growing countrywide divide over how to address issues of race, gender and sexuality in schools.

One side was of those who supported the new diversity plan and inclusion training requirements for Carroll students as well as teachers, while another side was of people backed by a political action committee against the plan. Supporters of the new diversity and inclusion proposal said that curriculum and disciplinary changes were needed to make all children feel safe and welcome in Carroll.

But conservatives in Southlake, a wealthy Dallas-Fort Worth suburb, blasted the school diversity plan as an effort to inculcate in students a “far-left ideology that would institutionalize discrimination against white children and those with conservative Christian values,” CBS News reported.

Distancing requirements are a core issue in discussions around the world on reopening schools, with many claiming the six-foot requirement makes it difficult to resume classes without adding portable classrooms or shortening the school day Distancing requirements are a core issue in discussions around the world on reopening schools, with many claiming the six-foot requirement makes it difficult to resume classes without adding portable classrooms or shortening the school day Photo: AFP / DANIEL LEAL-OLIVAS

In the election, candidates supported by the conservative Southlake Families PAC, won every race by about 70 percent to 30 percent, including those for two school board positions, two City Council seats and mayor.

Prominent Southlake attorney Hannah Smith won a seat on the Carroll school board, defeating business consultant Ed Hernandez. Reacting to the election outcome, Hernandez and other candidates, who were in favor of the diversity plan,  said they were not "surprised" with the outcome in the city but were disappointed by the margin of their defeat.

After the 2018 viral video, school leaders held listening sessions with students and parents and appointed a committee of 63 community volunteers to help make Carroll more welcoming for students from diverse backgrounds.

The school diversity committee also came up with a document called the “Cultural Competency Action Plan” last summer to deal with the diversity issue and called for mandatory cultural sensitivity training for all Carroll students and teachers. The plan sought a formal procedure to report incidents of racist bullying and punish students for discrimination, but it faced massive opposition. This issue also became the focal point in Southlake’s municipal elections this spring, dividing people in the city.