It sounds like a headline more appropriate to the 1950s and the American civil rights movement.
But sadly, our breaking news shines a spotlight on an all-too-current reality:
Parents Defending Education has filed a lawsuit against Wellesley Public Schools (WPS) in Massachusetts challenging the district’s segregated “affinity groups” and its speech policy.
Our suit alleges WPS has systemically and repeatedly violated students’ First and Fourteenth Amendment rights, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and the Massachusetts Students’ Freedom of Expression Law, through the district’s segregated “affinity groups” and an onerous speech code featuring a “bias reporting” program.
The district’s policy of hosting racially-segregated affinity groups is particularly troubling. WPS says this practice is necessary to achieve “racial equity,” and that these groups allow “people within an identity group to openly share their experiences without risk of feeling like they will offend someone from another group, and without another group’s voices.”
But this statement by the school district clearly demonstrates that the racial “affinity group” policy was designed to be exclusionary! And WPS has indeed held multiple racially segregated events for students — even as they refused to host an affinity group for Jewish students, despite statistical evidence highlighting the rise in anti-Semitic violence nationwide.
Disturbing emails even show the district’s director of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) lamenting that the school didn’t maintain a list of students sorted by race, which would have made it easier for her to invite only the Asian and Asian American students to such an event.
WPS also maintains a speech code that (successfully!) intends to chill student speech, punishing student speech that “demonstrates conscious or unconscious bias,” is “offensive,” has an “impact” on others, or “treats another person differently.”
That said, the district manages to not only chill student speech it views as offensive, but also to practice bias itself against viewpoints it disagrees with! Several families recently expressed concern over the display of Black Lives Matter flags, given BLM’s support for Hamas and comments about defunding the police; when concerns were raised, the district refused to fly Israeli or Thin Blue Line flags as a gesture of viewpoint diversity.
These policies and actions have had the troubling and understandable effect of chilling student speech throughout the district. Children of PDE members have abstained from speaking on topics including abortion, affirmative action, and the Second Amendment because they fear their speech will be anonymously reported to school authorities through the district’s “bias response” system.
These policies demonstrate WPS’s deep contempt for its students’ constitutional rights. Racial and viewpoint discrimination have no place in an American public school, and Parents Defending Education is proud to fight on behalf of our members to put a stop to these unconstitutional policies.
This lawsuit is just one more way we are working to reclaim our schools from activists promoting harmful agendas … fight indoctrination in the classroom … and restore a healthy, non-political education for our kids.
We’re honored to defend the rights of our members in the Wellesley Public Schools, and to take this stand for constitutional liberties, free speech, and a quality education. Thank you for your continued support — and stand by for updates from us as this case progresses!
Parents Defending Education