Texas school board leaders indicted for violating transparency law with secret texts about racial agenda

Two top school board members for a Dallas-area district stand accused of violating Texas transparency laws by secretly conspiring to impose a racial “diversity” agenda that is widely opposed by parents in the district.

Both the president and vice president of the Carroll Independent School District (CISD) board have now been indicted by a Tarrant County grand jury for allegedly violating the state’s “Open Meetings Act” government transparency law, The Daily Wire reported.

At issue are secretive efforts to implement what the board members called a “Cultural Competence Action Plan” — a plan based on the ideological framework of Critical Race Theory, which posits that racism, oppression, and white supremacy are inherent in every facet of society and must be a focal point of every educational subject.

CISD parents vocally opposed the plan when it was first introduced in August 2020, and while the board members had publicly stated that they would hold off on moving forward with the plan, private text messages between members that were later made public revealed that they had been communicating secretly about quickly implementing it despite the raised objections.

Indictments issued by grand jury

The Texan reported last week that a grand jury in Tarrant County determined that those private text messages constituted “secret deliberations,” in violation of the Open Meetings Act and the Texas Government Code, which specifically prohibits secret communications among a quorum of members of any government body.

As such, CISD President Michelle Moore and Vice President Todd Carlton were indicted by that grand jury and charged with a conspiracy to circumvent that prohibition against secret deliberations.

The charge is a misdemeanor offense and, if convicted, both Moore and Carlton could face one to six months in jail and/or a fine of $100-$500, according to the relevant statute.

Civil suit against the board

Those indictments came five months after a Tarrant County judge issued a restraining order against the CISD board with regard to its Cultural Competence Action Plan, according to a report at the time from The Dallas Morning News.

The judge became involved after parents filed a civil lawsuit against the CISD board, with the restraining order being deemed necessary after the secret text messages among board members were publicly revealed.

Based on the documents that were filed with the court, including those secret texts, the judge determined that, despite the public vows to refrain from moving forward with the plan until some point in 2021, it appeared likely that the board intended to implement its agenda “in the very near future.”

An attorney representing the parents in the civil suit, Dusty Fillmore, said in a statement to The Texan, “The civil case has always been about enforcement of the Open Meetings Act. It appears the district attorney is likewise interested, and we are gratified by her willingness to enforce the act.”

Given that the civil and criminal cases are both based on the same alleged violation, it remains to be seen if the matter can still be settled without any further intervention by the legal system — namely, by the board dropping its controversial plan to teach students a divisive left-wing agenda couched in racial grievances.

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