“Frisco ISD Under Federal Investigation for Civil Rights Violations”
Frisco Independent School District (FISD) is under investigation for alleged discrimination based on disability, sex, race, and age, according to the U.S. Department of Education. The complaints were filed with the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) in 2022 and this year. Of the complaints, two allege sexual harassment, with another alleging sexual violence. In addition, there are allegations that the school district denied benefits based on disability, sex, and race, as well as claims of accessibility barriers and trouble with academic adjustments.
Earlier this year, FISD trustee Marvin Lowe was accused of harassing a transgender student at an educational conference. Lowe approached the student after a session on transgender students in Texas schools, saying he was a Republican with different views on the subject. According to The Dallas Morning News, Lowe talked about how “Men like to walk around naked with their junk hanging around.” Lowe denies the allegations but it is unclear if this complaint is one of the open investigations against FISD.
Pride Frisco, a charity organization supporting LGBTQ communities in Frisco and North Texas, claimed that FISD was subject to 13 open federal civil rights investigations in a press release this week. However, according to a spokesperson for FISD, the school district presently has only seven open OCR investigations. None of which involves LGBTQ students or issues. The district has responded to all complaints, with one being assigned to a federal mediator to resolve the issue informally.
Justin Culpepper of Pride Frisco comments on the situation, stating that while Frisco may be gaining new residents at a rapid rate, they are starting to realize it’s not very welcoming to everyone. While other district schools are facing similar complaints and investigations, the sheer volume and speed at which they were opened in FISD is significant. According to Culpepper, FISD is one of the fastest-growing cities in America, attempting to sell itself as diverse, tolerant, and welcoming, yet many families moving there are experiencing issues related to inclusion.
The U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights has thousands of active investigations across the country. It is also investigating other North Texas school districts, including Carroll ISD, Prosper ISD, and Irving ISD. Of these, arguably the highest-profile case is Carroll ISD, which is facing eight investigations related to alleged discrimination on the basis of disability, race, sexual orientation, and gender identity. FISD is responding to all allegations and believes the OCR is likely to determine that the district acted appropriately in all seven cases.