Frisco ISD Faces Several Federal Investigations | Dallas Observer


Frisco ISD Faces Several Federal Civil Rights Investigations

Three of the investigations into Frisco ISD were opened this year.
Three of the investigations into Frisco ISD were opened this year. Photo by Sam Balye on Unsplash
Frisco Independent School District is now the subject of several open federal civil rights investigations over allegations of discrimination.

According to the U.S. Department of Education, the complaints allege discrimination based on disability, sex, race and age.

The complaints were made to the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights (OCR) in 2022 and this year. Two of the sex discrimination complaints allege sexual harassment, and another alleges sexual violence. There are also allegations that benefits were denied on the basis of disability, sex and race. Others allege accessibility barriers and trouble with academic adjustments.

The district received some attention earlier this year when a trustee named Marvin Lowe was accused of harassing a transgender student at a San Antonio educational conference. According to The Dallas Morning News, Lowe approached a teenage student after a session about transgender students in Texas schools, saying that he was a Republican with different views on the subject.

The complaint said Lowe started talking about how “Men like to walk around naked with their junk hanging around,” the News reported. Lowe has said that this isn’t true and that he approached the student out of love. It is unclear if the reported complaint against Lowe is one of the open investigations into the Frisco ISD. 

"... There are only seven open investigations." – Frisco ISD

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Pride Frisco is a charity organization supporting LGBTQ communities in Frisco and North Texas. It was founded by Justin and Jon Culpepper, a married couple. The organization sent out a press release this week saying Frisco ISD was the subject of 13 open federal civil rights investigations. Reached for comment, the school district said this isn't true.

"Frisco ISD currently has seven open OCR investigations," a spokesperson for the district said. "The OCR website lists an investigation under each statute that applies to the allegation. As a result, two of the investigations are listed three times each and two are listed two times each. However, there are only seven open investigations."

The spokesperson also said none of these seven complaints involved LGBTQ students or issues. The district has responded to all of these complaints, according to the spokesperson, and one has been assigned a federal mediator to try to resolve the situation without a formal investigation.

The spokesperson said: "The [complaint] summaries reveal no patterns or commonalities that would lead us to believe there are any systemic issues. In fact, in all seven of these cases, we believe that OCR is likely to determine that the district acted appropriately."

Justin Culpepper of Pride Frisco said that Frisco may be gaining new residents at a rapid rate, but the people moving here are starting to realize it’s not very welcoming to everyone.

“Yes, other districts have been facing similar complaints and investigations, but the sheer volume here and the speed at which they were all opened is significant,” Justin said. “This is also in one of the fastest-growing cities in America that has been attempting to sell itself as diverse, tolerant, welcoming.

“Many companies and businesses, families, etc., are relocating here only to realize that the schools are great if you fit a certain mold but their children don't fit that mold and are miserable, and the school leadership refuses to do anything about these issues when they are reported.”

The U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights has thousands of active investigations across the country.

It is investigating other North Texas school districts as well, including Carroll ISD, Prosper ISD and Irving ISD. Arguably the highest-profile of these is Carroll ISD, which is facing eight investigations related to alleged discrimination on the basis of disability, race, sexual orientation and gender identity.
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Jacob Vaughn, a former Brookhaven College journalism student, has written for the Observer since 2018, first as clubs editor. More recently, he's been in the news section as a staff writer covering City Hall, the Dallas Police Department and whatever else editors throw his way.
Contact: Jacob Vaughn

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