White students and teachers in Northeastern Illinois are being illegally discriminated against for the color of their skin and forced to accept that “white identity is inherently racist.” Drama teacher Stacy Deemar, who has been with the Evanston/Skokie School District 65 for almost 20 years, is fighting back.
On Tuesday, the Southeastern Legal Foundation filed a lawsuit against the District for mandating this segregation and racial division in schools.
“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,” said SLF General Counsel Kimberly Hermann. “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.”
Tuesday’s filing alleges that District 65 has implemented critical race theory into school lessons, classroom procedures, and teacher training for years. The district’s so-called equity standards were first set in 2016 and have advanced far past the point of racial discrimination. District 65 previously faced backlash for giving students of color priority to return for in-person instruction following the pandemic.
In the District’s 2018 Strategy and Equity Reflection, neighboring superintendent Paul Gordon praised the “majority of school instructional teams [who] have written plans that focus on accelerating black student achievement,” and celebrated an increase in “the annual percentage of new hires who identify as people of color by 12%.” Gordon himself is a white male whose initial three-year contract included an annual base salary of almost $200,000.
In October 2020, superintendent Devon Horton told District 65 teachers, “If you’re not antiracist, we can’t have you in front of our students.” In its antiracist programming, District 65 forces employees to accept that white individuals are “loud, authoritative . . . [and] controlling,” to understand, “To be less white is to be less racially oppressive,” to acknowledge that “white identity is inherently racist,” to denounce “white privilege,” to participate in racially segregated exercises, and to participate in “privilege walks,” where teachers must respond to the prompt “Because of my race or color…” If teachers fail to complete the training, District 65 openly labels them “racist.”
Everything from teacher reviews to classroom procedures to school lessons is riddled with discriminatory language. Survey questions for middle schoolers in the district include, “Teachers at Nichols Middle School call on you less often than they call on other students because of your race/ethnicity”; “Teachers at Nichols Middle School discipline you more harshly than other kids because of your race/ethnicity”; “Teachers grade you harder than they grade other kids because of your race/ethnicity”; “Teachers at Nichols Middle School think you are less smart than you really are because of your race/ethnicity,” and so on.
Educators in District 65 must participate in the “Courageous Conversation” program, which teaches them to “develop [their] understanding of whiteness and challenge [their] beliefs about [their] own association with and relationship to racial privilege and power.” District 65 also mandates “Beyond Diversity” training for employees that deliberately segregate participants into “racial affinity groups.”
District 65 has hosted sessions for teachers to read “White Fragility” by Robin DiAngelo, a literary framework for racism, segregating them into reading groups based on race, providing teachers with personal copies of the book, and even announced that DiAngelo would speak to the District 65 staff in the 2019-2020 school year. During the reading sessions, District 65 instructed schools to select “at least one facilitator who identifies as white as we are centering White Racial Literacy Development.”
The district’s equity outline allegedly works to “promote an anti-racist and welcoming culture for all students,” according to the district’s website. But District 65’s curriculum for Pre-K through eighth-grade students proves otherwise. Materials directly from the district’s curriculum include: “Whiteness is a bad deal. It always was”; “Racism is a white person’s problem and we are all caught up in it”; “White people have a very, very serious problem and they should start thinking about what they should do about it”; “It [is] important to disrupt the Western nuclear family dynamics as the best/proper way to have a family”; “To “treat everybody equally” is a colorblind message, and “color blindness helps racism.”
Students are subjected to similar teachings as educators, have been taught racial discrimination in school studies, are mandated to attend a week dedicated to Black Lives Matter, and Pre-K through fifth-grade students were forced to read aloud “Not My Idea: A Book about Whiteness (Ordinary Terrible Things)“, by Anastasia Higginbotham, which teaches that, “Racism is a white person’s problem and we are all caught up in it.”
The school district has made itself clear: White people must be treated differently for the color of their skin. According to the SLF, the United States Department of Education Office of Civil Rights “reportedly determined that District 65’s focus on race violated Title VI regulations,” but suspended the finding days after President Joe Biden’s inauguration.
Ironically, District 65 school Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Literary and Fine Arts School supports, teaches, and develops the District’s racist policies. The school would be much wiser to teach the words of its namesake: “I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”