Joy Lim

Joy Lim, left, talks with the CFBISD Board of Trustees about a controversial question about Chinese culture on a social studies quiz.

The sister of one of the students who received a quiz that contained an offensive question confronted the Carrollton-Farmers Branch ISD Board of Trustees on Thursday.

Three teachers are on paid administrative leave after authorities say they used a test that included language about Asian Americans that was “derogatory and hurtful.” The district didn’t identify which campus the test was given, but resident Joy Lim, a Creekview High School graduate, said the test was given to her sister’s sixth-grade social studies class at Blalack Middle School as part of its unit on China.

Lim posted a copy of the question on Twitter, saying it described China in a “barbaric tone.” Thursday she read the question, which described cultural norms in China, and the multiple choice answers that included stereotypes out loud to the board.

“This racist indoctrination is dangerous, violent and harmful to the students and community members of Asian descent,” Lim said to the School Board. “Although it was a multiple choice question, the question perpetuated misconceptions and harmful stereotypes in the answer choices that were provided, further solidifying the negative stereotypes of Chinese communities. As a Korean American myself I found this incident to be incredibly damaging to the Asian American community in Carrollton, especially in light of the racial tension and AAPI (Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders) hate crimes across the country.” 

When asked Thursday if the question on the test was created by the teachers or if the test was received from an outside source, CFBISD spokeswoman Dawn Parnell said the district can’t comment since this is an ongoing investigation.

The district issued a statement on the matter Wednesday morning, and Superintendent John Chapman addressed the issue on a video message to parents Wednesday afternoon. He said the employees used inaccurate depictions of Asian Americans on a middle school social studies test. He said the district is investigating and said the actions of the three teachers don’t represent the district.  

“Our district cares deeply about all students and families,” Chapman said. “As educators we are dedicated to providing a respectful, caring and supportive environment for all staff and every student under our care. Our students must be able to trust us, count on our abilities to lead them and model respect for all people.”

Thursday Chapman apologized for the questions on the test.

“I want to sincerely apologize for the hurt that you’ve experienced as a result of this situation,” Chapman said. “In CFB we embrace the diversity. We respect the differences and we foster the welcoming environment where all children belong.”

Chapman said in a video Wednesday the questions were inappropriate.

“Please know we will not tolerate any actions or language disrespecting Asian Americans or any other person or group,” he continued. “Any defamatory language does not represent the core beliefs of CFBISD.”

Chapman said the district serves students from more than 70 countries who speak 50 different languages.

In a statement the district said CFBISD recently launched a diversity training initiative for staff.

“The district will enhance these training opportunities in an effort to create a more inclusive and respectful environment,” the district stated.

At Thursday’s meeting Lim made several demands of the district, including full transparency of the investigation and involvement of at least one Asian in the investigation. 

She also demanded someone be held responsible for the creation and administration of the quiz.  

Lim also wants a sincere apology to the Asian American communities from the district and the educators involved.  

Lim also demanded a clear plan of action to educate and prepare instructors through diversity and equity training. She wants people of color invited to and involved with those trainings. 

“I hope this can be a learning point for everyone in this district in combating systemic discrimination and teaching the next generation to be compassionate individuals,” she said.  

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