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Members of the private Facebook group Southlake Conservative Values recently targeted substitute teacher Stephanie Williams. Courtesy of Facebook

An early morning call unsettled what was supposed to be an enjoyable day of substitute teaching in the Carroll school district. As Stephanie Williams prepared to teach at one of Southlake’s public schools, a friend notified her that a private Facebook group, Southlake Conservative Values, had posted information about Williams’ classroom assignment that day — information that the public should not have had access to. 

“Stephanie Williams is substitute teaching at Dawson Middle School,” the private Facebook group post reads. “If your child is in that class, you might want to contact the school to let them know she is not allowed to be around your child. She has proven herself to be quite unstable.”

The message included an allegation that Williams used her car to block a student driver in a school parking lot, something that Williams described as baseless. She believes the incident refers to her husband recently and briefly parking his car near a trailer that was illegally parked.

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One parent replied that he instructed his child to record Williams, who unsuccessfully ran for one of seven Carroll school board seats last fall. Her campaign pushed back on Christian nationalists who continue to hold sway over Southlake school board dealings and Southlake politics in general. Williams and her supporters allege that right-wing extremists in the tony suburb aim to defund public schools and to divert those taxpayer dollars to private Christian schools using vouchers. 

“Monday evening, I sent an email to district leadership and shared the screenshots and my concern about my personal sub schedule being shared,” Williams told me. “I spoke with the teacher for whom I subbed. She was concerned that the information had been shared.” 

No one from the school district responded, Williams added. I reached out to the school district for comment but did not hear back. 

In November, the U.S. Department of Education’s civil rights enforcement arm launched an investigation into the Carroll school district. The investigation is a federal response to allegations that three students were bullied because of their race and sexual orientation. Southlake’s public schools have a long and documented history of condoning racist behavior by students, parents, and faculty. 

In 2020, when some parents and school leaders tried to pass the Cultural Competency Action Plan, which was basically a roadmap to addressing lingering racism issues in the school district, a wealthy contingent of white parents formed a PAC, Southlake Families, that funded a misinformation campaign that portrayed the proposed racial equity policy as a Marxist ploy to spread white guilt in the upscale suburb. Southlake Families funds subsequently floated the campaigns of three Carroll school board members who are ideologically aligned with right-wing rhetoric that seeks to portray anti-racism policies as anti-white. 

Williams said she will run again for the school board’s Place 7 seat on Sat, May 7, as part of an election that will also fill Place 6. Southlake Families-backed candidates are also running for those seats. 

Williams said many in her community were disappointed by the Republican primary win by Tim O’Hare, the Southlaker who claims to have founded Southlake Families in 2020 even though Secretary of State documents show the PAC was founded several years ago by Leigh Wambsganss, who was heading an effort to keep liquor stores out of Southlake at the time. O’Hare, who based his campaign on lies about opponent Betsy Price, will run against Democrat Deborah Peoples for county judge in November’s midterms. 

Williams said many Southlake parents remain naive about the damage that O’Hare’s supporters cause for the school district. 

“They are doing harm to our district, and, most importantly, they are doing harm to our kids,” she said.

 

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