A right-wing parents group has sued a school district in suburban Boston alleging white students there are having their civil rights violated because “a policy of segregating students by race” that favors minorities has been adopted.
Parents Defending Education, which describes itself as “a national grassroots organization working to reclaim our schools from activists promoting harmful agendas,” recently filed the federal lawsuit claiming that Wellesley Public Schools “is flouting” a precedent established by the U.S. Supreme Court.
Chief among Parents Defending Education grievances is the claim that Wellesley Public Schools teachers are “teaching white students to address their ‘shame, guilt, or sadness,'” the complaint says. The group specifically names Wellesley Public Schools’ racial “affinity group” policy, which the complaint claims “By definition and by design” is “exclusionary” to white students.
The Boston Globe reported that Parents Defending Education first took their complaints public two months after Wellesley Public Schools emailed minority students inviting them to participate in a forum following the racist Atlanta spa shootings that killed mostly Asian Americans.
“This is a safe space for our Asian/Asian-American and Students of Color, *not* for students who identify only as White,” the email said in part.
That apparently ignited the reverse racism fire under Parents Defending Education, leading them to its current lawsuit, one of at least five complaints the group has filed around the country. The Globe noted that one of those complaints targeted Columbus Public Schools in Ohio, where Ma’Khia Bryant, a Black teenager, was killed by police.
Parents Defending Education’s lawsuit reeks of efforts to uphold white supremacy, but it especially stinks because it was filed in an area of the country that can’t shake its reputation for championing racism. Wellesley is a wealthy suburb of Boston located about 17 miles southwest of Massachusetts’ capital city with a population that is fewer than 3% Black, according to Census data.
A growing number of school boards and parents groups have been steadily taking umbrage surrounding the topic of critical race theory, the academic movement that has sparked countless other contentious encounters at school board and committee meetings across the country for months. It is vehemently opposed by right-wing conservative groups not unlike Parents Defending Education.
Just last month, Dr. Kenann McKenzie, an adjunct professor and Director of the Aspire Institute at Boston University’s Wheelock College who earned her PhD from Columbia University — an Ivy League school — and also happens to be the only Black member of the school committee in another Boston suburb, had her credentials openly questioned during a school committee meeting.
McKenzie said she felt the entire incident was “racially charged” and that she resented questions about how she got to be a member of the school committee.
“It is an added stress and burden to many people of color to have people stop you at the door and verify only you and no one else in the space,” McKenzie told the Salem News.
Parents Defending Education would likely beg to differ.