Carroll ISD teacher, board reach agreement on complaint over reprimand for anti-racist book

·2 min read
Bob Booth/Special to the Star-Telegram

A Carroll ISD fourth-grade teacher who was reprimanded last fall over a book on anti-racism in her classroom reached an agreement with the school board after a closed-door hearing Monday morning.

The details of the agreement weren’t immediately available, but board president Eric Lannen said, “I think we have a great outcome today.”

Rickie Farah, who was teacher of the year during the 2020-21 school year, filed a complaint against the school board in November when trustees voted 3-2 to have a reprimand letter placed in her file after a parent alleged that her child was bullied over a book, called “This Book is Anti-Racist: 20 Lessons on How to Wake Up, Take Action, and Do the Work” by Tiffany Jewell. The book has been on the New York Times bestseller list.

School administrators did not discipline Farah.

The Johnson Elementary School student brought the book home, and the parent filed a grievance with the district alleging that Farah bullied the child and that the book went against the parent’s moral values.

Monday’s hearing was conducted in an executive session that lasted over two hours. After the hearing, the board voted 6-0 in favor of two motions, to accept the agreement and to restate that the superintendent and campus principals have the authority to discipline employees.

Trustee Todd Carlton was absent.

Steven Poole, executive director of the United Educators Association, who represented Farah at the hearing, said he could not comment on the agreement between Farah and the district because it is confidential.

However, he read a statement which said, “Mrs. Farah is pleased with the outcome and grateful that it has been resolved. She loves this community and her students and looks forward to continued success in the classroom.”

Before trustees went into closed session, Lannen told the audience that the complaint stated that the board violated policy and state law. The complaint also stated that Farah was never interviewed.

People in the audience also spoke in support of Farah.

Kelsey Hedrick, whose son is in Farah’s class, pleaded with the board to give the teacher a fair hearing.

“The narrative painted about Mrs. Farah is so false it makes me sick. She’s the best teacher my son’s ever had,” Hedrick said.

Hedrick also said that the hearing was held at a time (8 a.m.) when most of her supporters couldn’t attend.

Stephanie Williams said she saw the board’s decision to reprimand Farah as “over-reach.”

“The school board should not be allowed to reprimand a teacher,” Williams said.

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