EXCLUSIVE: Biden Admin Opens Investigation Into School District That Allegedly Created Race-Based Student Groups

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Reagan Reese Contributor
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The Department of Education Office of Civil Rights (OCR) opened an investigation into a Vermont school district that allegedly created race-based student groups, according to a Friday letter obtained by the Daily Caller News Foundation.

Parents Defending Education (PDE), a group focused on parental rights, filed a civil rights complaint against Shelburne Community School in January for allegedly creating exclusive groups specifically for students and staff who were Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC). The OCR notified PDE in a letter that it would be opening an investigation into the school district, Champlain Valley School District, on Friday. (RELATED: School Revises Race-Based Play Auditions After Civil Rights Complaint)

“Creating BIPOC affinity groups for third graders fosters animosity between young children of differing races,” Caroline Moore, vice president of PDE, told the DCNF. “One can only hope an investigation by a federal agency will give Shelburne Community Schools the reality check they need to cease rogue and discriminatory affinity groups and, instead, create clubs that mirror and unify students over common interests, which is the purpose of affinity groups.”

Shelburne Community School allegedly created an “opt-in racial affinity group” for third through eighth grade students “identifying as Black, Indigenous, or people of color,” the January complaint stated. To sign their children up for the affinity group, parents were encouraged to contact the school’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion coach, according to a school newsletter obtained by PDE.

WASHINGTON, DC – JANUARY 27: U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona delivers remarks at the department’s Lyndon Baines Johnson Building on January 27, 2022 in Washington, DC. Cardona laid out the department’s priorities almost one year after being sworn in as head of the $64 billion agency. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

The OCR has documented a record number of discrimination complaints across the nation’s schools in the past year; from October 2021 to September 2022, the number of complaints almost doubled from the year prior, with nearly 19,000 filed. Most of the complaints the OCR fields pertain to disabilities, race and sex.

Champlain Valley School District did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

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