Deemar v. Evanston/Skokie School District 65

Challenging School District's Mandating Segregation and Racial Division

About the Case

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.

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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.

Case Status

Active Litigation

Court

Northern District of Illinois

Why This Matters

The battleground for the future of the American Republic is in our schools. K-12 schools across our nation are replacing traditional education with race-based programming in the name of “equity.” 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.

District 65 is ground zero for this race-based programming that illegally and unconstitutionally discriminates against individuals because of their skin color.

SLF general counsel Kimberly Hermann warns:

“By vowing to define its teachers and students solely by their race, District 65 promotes and reinforces a view of race essentialism that divides Americans into groups based solely on their skin color. District 65 teaches its teachers and students that their whole identity comes from the color of their skin. It teaches them to hate each other. It teaches them not only how to be racist, but that they should be racist. This is illegal, wrong, and must be stopped.”

In its lawsuit, SLF 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 their race.

Cece O’Leary, SLF attorney, adds:

“District 65 sets up a dichotomy between white and non-white races that depicts whiteness as inherently racist and a tool of oppression. We see this in the racially exclusive affinity groups, where the District segregates faculty members and students into groups on the basis of race. This is blatant state-sanctioned race discrimination.”

In January 2021, the U.S. Department of Education found that District 65 engaged in illegal discrimination through its policies and programs. The District has discriminated against individuals on the basis of race for far too long. And with the Biden administration withdrawing the Department of Education’s findings just days after inauguration, the only way to stop the District’s discrimination is through this lawsuit.

SLF litigation director Braden Boucek reminds us:

“The United States Supreme Court has made it clear that ‘The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.’ The Constitution demands equality for all individuals without racial preference. The District’s practices, policies, and procedures are not permitted under the Constitution or federal law.”

Equal protection is a principle “purchased at the price of immeasurable human suffering.” This lawsuit asks the court to reinforce this principle firmly etched into our nation.

Why This Matters

The battleground for the future of the American Republic is in our schools. K-12 schools across our nation are replacing traditional education with race-based programming in the name of “equity.” 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.

District 65 is ground zero for this race-based programming that illegally and unconstitutionally discriminates against individuals because of their skin color.

SLF general counsel Kimberly Hermann warns:

“By vowing to define its teachers and students solely by their race, District 65 promotes and reinforces a view of race essentialism that divides Americans into groups based solely on their skin color. District 65 teaches its teachers and students that their whole identity comes from the color of their skin. It teaches them to hate each other. It teaches them not only how to be racist, but that they should be racist. This is illegal, wrong, and must be stopped.”

In its lawsuit, SLF 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 their race.

Cece O’Leary, SLF attorney, adds:

“District 65 sets up a dichotomy between white and non-white races that depicts whiteness as inherently racist and a tool of oppression. We see this in the racially exclusive affinity groups, where the District segregates faculty members and students into groups on the basis of race. This is blatant state-sanctioned race discrimination.”

In January 2021, the U.S. Department of Education found that District 65 engaged in illegal discrimination through its policies and programs. The District has discriminated against individuals on the basis of race for far too long. And with the Biden administration withdrawing the Department of Education’s findings just days after inauguration, the only way to stop the District’s discrimination is through this lawsuit.

SLF litigation director Braden Boucek reminds us:

“The United States Supreme Court has made it clear that ‘The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to stop discriminating on the basis of race.’ The Constitution demands equality for all individuals without racial preference. The District’s practices, policies, and procedures are not permitted under the Constitution or federal law.”

Equal protection is a principle “purchased at the price of immeasurable human suffering.” This lawsuit asks the court to reinforce this principle firmly etched into our nation.

News Releases

Evanston District 65 Lawsuit Facts: Equal Protection and Anti-Segregation

The lawsuit filed this month against D65 deals directly with facts and actions. As the lawsuit moves forward, there will continue to be opportunities for millions of parents and students – regardless of skin color – to debate and speak out. Any effort to intimidate or otherwise harass those who have the courage to step forward to challenge these programs in court further reveals the ideological ambitions of those who enact and mandate unconstitutional programs designed to re-segregate our schools and, by extension, our republic.

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