A parents advocacy group filed a civil rights complaint against a Massachusetts public school district after the school allegedly segregated students by race, Parents Defending Education announced in a statement Wednesday.
Parents Defending Education filed the complaint with the Education Department’s Office for Civil Rights, alleging that Wellesley Public Schools violated Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibits any programs receiving federal funds from excluding any person “on the ground of race, color, or national origin.”
Wellesley Public Schools put *in writing* that white students were not allowed to attend a school sponsored “healing event” in the wake of the Atlanta shooting. That is a violation of federal law. https://t.co/DBUs7Jp9MI
— Parents Defending Education (@DefendingEd) May 19, 2021
The district’s Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion allegedly hosted a “Healing Space for Asian and Asian American students” and Black, Indigenious, People of Color (BIPOC) students in grades 6-12, an image of an email in the complaint shows. The email notes that the “safe space” is only for students of color, and emphasizes that it is not “for students who identify only as White.”
“If you identify as White, and need help to process recent events, please know I’m here for you as well as your guidance counselors,” the email continues. “If you need to know more about why this is not for White students, please ask me!”
The email also said that some students would be “discussing and reflecting” on a “hate crime against members of the Asian community in Atlanta,” indicating the email was likely sent in mid-March, after eight people were killed in shootings at massage parlors.
Parents Defending Education also included images of an email that appeared to be sent from the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion director and other school officials on March 19. The email refers to “discomfort” that some people expressed after “learning of a practice that they perceive to be discriminatory in nature.”
The school calls the groups that exclude certain races “affinity spaces,” according to the email. “Many of these opportunities [for ‘challenging conversations’] are broad-based, occurring at faculty meetings, through community forums, and as part of whole-class conversations,” the email says.
“At the same time, we have come to unequivocally affirm the importance of ‘affinity spaces,’ where members of historically-marginalized groups can come together in a spirit of mutual support and understanding of shared experiences,” the email continues.
Numerous schools have held “affinity groups” or “affinity spaces” that separate students or staff by race. A Virginia public school reportedly held a “Racial Affinity Group” as part of its “antiracism” efforts in early May that was meant for white staff to “critically and authentically examine our role and responsibility in this work.” (RELATED: REPORT: Public School In Virginia Holds ‘Antiracist’ Event For White People Only)
Some staff at Thomas Dale High School are raising concerns about a group created by the school principal, Dr. Christopher Jones, for white people. Some reached out to 8News saying it was offensive to exclude a race or form a group based on race. https://t.co/JisGVsyRGt
— 8News WRIC Richmond (@8NEWS) May 17, 2021
Wellesley school officials allegedly wrote in the email that the “affinity spaces are not discriminatory” and the practice is part of a “long-term, evidence-based district strategy” that enhances a sense of belonging at the district.
Wellesley Public Schools said in a statement Thursday that the “affinity space” for certain minority students was not intended to “prohibit anyone else from attending.”
“In an effort to further define this district invitation to an individual class of students in a developmentally appropriate manner, one of our teachers noted that this particular space was not designed for students who identify as white,” the statement said.
“The teacher’s intent, however imperfectly stated, was to help early secondary students better understand the intended audience for this affinity space, not prohibit anyone else from attending. No students or staff were turned away from participating in the healing space. In fact, participants on that day represented a range of racial groups, including white participants,” the statement continued.
The school added that the use of “affinity spaces” is not intended to increase social divisions.
Parents Defending Education is requesting an investigation of the school following the “affinity spaces” event.
“We ask that the [Education Department] promptly investigate the allegations in this complaint, act swiftly to remedy unlawful policies and practices, and order appropriate relief,” Parents Defending Education’s complaint says.
Numerous schools across the country have tasked diversity, equity, and inclusivity offices and external contractors with leading “antiracism” efforts. (RELATED: The New Left’s Institutionalized Racialism Is ‘Everywhere.’ In Medicine, Education, Even In Government Labs. Here’s How It Happened)
These trainings are often based on the ideas of Critical Race Theory (CRT). CRT holds that America is fundamentally racist, yet teaches students to view every social interaction and person in terms of race. Its adherents pursue “antiracism” through the end of merit, objective truth and the adoption of race-based policies.
Seattle Public Schools, the largest public school district in Washington state, reportedly trained white teachers to “bankrupt their privilege” by focusing on social justice in the classroom.
San Diego Unified School Districts reportedly held a training that told teachers “whiteness” caused failing schools and that white teachers must undergo “antiracist” therapy to remedy their ignorance.