Tennessee attorney Braden Boucek is representing a teacher in a newly-announced lawsuit against a school district for alleged egregious civil rights violations. Boucek is the director of litigation at the Southeastern Legal Foundation (SLF), who filed on behalf of the teacher on Tuesday.
The school district, Evanston-Skokie School District 65 (District 65) in Illinois, reportedly requires teachers to undergo “antiracist training” within 2 years. As evidenced by the lawsuit, the training instructs teachers to accept that White individuals are “loud, authoritative, and controlling;” understand that being “less White” is “less racially oppressive;” acknowledge that “White identity is inherently racist;” denounce “White privilege;” and participate in “privilege walks” where they must stand in line and separate themselves according to statements relating to their race or color. After training, the district mandates teachers to relay this information to students. If teachers show any semblance of disagreement with these teachings or directives, then the district labels them as racist.
The lawsuit also highlights curriculum offered from Pre-K through eighth grade that teaches statements such as, “Racism is a White person’s problem and we are all caught up in it.” It explained that these sorts of statements are a part of District 65’s larger goal of achieving equity.
“For years now, race-based programming has overtaken District 65 in the name of racial ‘equity,'” reads the lawsuit. “What seems like a relatively benign cause – also euphemistically called ‘social justice,’ ‘diversity and inclusion,’ ‘Critical Race Theory,’ and ‘culturally responsive teaching’ – is actually code-speak for a much bigger and more dangerous picture: the practice of conditioning individuals to see each other’s skin color first and foremost, then pitting different racial groups against each other.”
In an interview with The Tennessee Star, Boucek explained that the root cause of this issue comes from the destruction of equality in favor of equity.
“If you look at some of the things we’ve quoted [in the lawsuit], the district takes equality squarely at aim. They’re saying equality must bend the knee to equity,” said Boucek. “The principles of equality are far too important and too much blood has been shed to allow a backslide on those principles.”
According to Boucek, Tennessee education is no better. He observed that the emphasis on equity in schools across the state paves the way for civil rights violations like those occurring in District 65 to emerge.
“If Tennessee parents don’t act to pull up this dangerous weed now, it will bear fruit every bit as overt and odious as what’s going on in our complaint,” warned Boucek.
District 65 openly embraces contentious ideologies such as Critical Race Theory. As the lawsuit notes, the district defines the theory in its online racial equity tools glossary. District 65’s definition challenges principles of the American founding.
“Unlike traditional civil rights, which embraces incrementalism and step by step progress, Critical Race Theory questions the very foundations of the liberal order, including equality theory, legal reasoning, Enlightenment rationalism, and principles of constitutional law,” wrote the district.
This isn’t the first time that this school district was challenged for alleged civil rights violations. District 65 was reportedly found in violation of civil rights laws under the Trump Administration. The district was almost held accountable – until President Joe Biden took office.
In January, the U.S. Department of Education (DOE) Office of Civil Rights discovered that the school district violated civil rights laws. The letter detailed how the district separated administrators in professional development training programs by White and non-White members; offered racially-exclusive affinity groups separating students, parents, and community members by race; implemented disciplinary policy requiring staffers to consider race when disciplining students; and separated seventh and eighth grade students into groups based on race in a “Colorism Privilege Walk.”
The office gave the school district 90 days to remediate those unconstitutional practices.
The Biden Administration quietly rescinded that order, citing its commitment to “equity.”
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