Administrators at Wellesley Public Schools (WPS) in Massachusetts thought it would be a good idea to create “affinity groups” for black, Hispanic, and Asian students and hold school-sponsored and organized group sessions only they could attend under the guise of “racial equity.”
Americans made sacrifices to end government-mandated racial segregation. Some of these freedom fighters lost their lives. Young people today might not be as aware of this as they should be. If you are attending a government school, the school may not sponsor any event for students of a certain racial group and bar students from a different racial group from attending that event, or allow students to bar others based on race.
Everyone has a right not to associate with people of a different race on their own time. But your tax-funded government school is breaking the law if it sanctions or mandates this disassociation in student clubs and events.
Parents Defending Education (PDE), which exposed the National School Boards Association’s letter to President Joe Biden that compared parents who attended local school board meetings to domestic terrorists, filed a lawsuit against WPS for what it called (PDF) a “racial segregation policy” that “violates the Fourteenth Amendment and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act.”
The school district this week settled the lawsuit. According to the settlement agreement (PDF), WPS will open affinity group sessions to all students and no longer bar students based on race.
PDE said the settlement also includes ending a “draconian” Bias Reporting System. From the press release (emphasis added):
Shortly after PDE filed suit, WPS suspended the policy, which gave the school the power to punish speech simply because others believed it was “offensive” or showed “conscious or unconscious bias.” This procedure has been replaced and will never be reinstated.
PDE’s lawsuit and the resulting settlement means Wellesley Public Schools may no longer treat students differently on the basis of race while ignoring the guaranteed protections of the Fourteenth Amendment – nor intentionally chill student speech while ignoring the guaranteed protections of the First Amendment.
PDE president Nicole Neily said the organization is “thrilled that Wellesley Public Schools has agreed to respect both the First and Fourteenth Amendment rights of its students going forward. This settlement sends a clear message that racially segregating students in public schools is wrong – and there will be consequences. We have spent decades teaching our kids that racial segregation was and will always be wrong. We will not tolerate a return to segregation in 2022.”
The fight isn’t over. PDE said that affinity groups have gained traction in other government school districts.
Do you like this post? Sign up for more!