For years, the Evanston/Skokie School District 65 has been forcing its teachers to participate in, teach their students, and observe programming that discriminates against individuals on the basis of race. Southeastern Legal Foundation (SLF) filed an historic federal lawsuit on behalf of a District 65 teacher in the Northern District of Illinois to stop District 65 from discriminating against all of its teachers and all of its students on the basis of race through illegal and unconstitutional teacher training, classroom curriculum, and overall policies and procedures.
The U.S. Department of Education in January 2021 found that the District engaged in illegal discrimination through its policies and programs. But just days after inauguration, the Biden administration withdrew those findings.
In its lawsuit, SLF now asks the court to halt the District’s discriminatory practices which violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act because they treat people differently solely based on the color of their skin. Founded in 1976, SLF has appeared successfully before the U.S. Supreme Court in multiple landmark civil rights cases.
Since 2017, District 65 has openly declared its commitment “to focusing on race as one of the first visible indicators of identity.” Put into practice, the District demands that nearly every policy, teacher training session, and lesson plan focus on racial identity.
For example, the District required its teachers to attend mandatory “antiracist” training that included segregating teachers into racially exclusive affinity groups, requiring them to engage in racial discrimination against each other. The District also required teachers to participate in mandatory privilege walks where they were segregated by their color. Through these trainings, teachers were conditioned to see each other’s skin color first and foremost.
Then, once District 65 indoctrinated the teachers with these divisive, hateful, and racist lessons, it moved on to the students. For example, District 65 segregated students into racially exclusive affinity groups, required students to participate in racially segregated privilege walks, and gave students race surveys. And in its curriculum for Pre-K through eighth grade, District 65 continuously reinforces hateful and discriminatory messages such as “white people have a very, very serious problem and they should start thinking about what they should do about it” and even included an anti-racist pledge in its lesson plans.
The U.S. Supreme Court has declared, “Classifications of citizens solely on the basis of race are by their very nature odious to a free people whose institutions are founded upon the doctrine of equality. They threaten to stigmatize individuals by reason of their membership in a racial group and to incite racial hostility.” District 65 has sacrificed equality upon the altar of equity, in violation of the constitutional guarantee of equal protection and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act.