An Illinois high school is being accused of racial discrimination after one of its programs offered special opportunities only to Black and Hispanic students, according to a parental organization.
Parents Defending Education (PDE), filed a complaint on Tuesday accusing the Illinois Math and Science Academy (IMSA) in Aurora, Illinois, regarding the Brotherhood Sister Circle (BHSC) program at the school.
"I would ask for Black/Latinx photographers so that pictures can be taken throughout the day."
— Parents Defending Education (@DefendingEd) February 7, 2024
The complaint states that the program is a violation of both Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
According to BHSC, which began in 2019, its goal is to “nurture a safe, affirming and responsive environment” for Black and Hispanic students, as well as provide an environment where they can learn about America’s “system of oppression.”
Proof of the racial discrimination could be found in email conversations from March 2022. One of the emails was an exchange between a member of IMSA’s yearbook photo team, a DEI staff member, and the DEI director. It involves a retreat for Black and Hispanic students.
“I am part of the yearbook team and we were planning on taking pictures of the retreat on Saturday,” the student wrote. “Would we need to register for the retreat? Also, do our photographers need to be Black or Latinx?”
“Your staff may attend the keynote presentation and take photos between 1:30 to 2:20 in the Lexington cafeteria,” a DEI staff member responded. “All of the other sessions are closed sessions. Please speak with a staff member before you begin taking photos.”
A few minutes later, the DEI director responded to the email.
“I would ask for Black/Latinx photographers so that pictures can be taken throughout the day,” she added.
The email exchange shows that the retreat excluded anyone who wasn’t Black or Latinx, which is classified as racial discrimination.
Our public schools and our tax dollars are being abused to code children along racial lines – it’s despicable.
We cannot relent in the fight against DEI until it’s eliminated from American education completely.
— Nicki Neily (@nickineily) February 3, 2024
In another email exchange, the DEI director sent out a follow-up email regarding the retreat to another staff member.
“Did you request a list of emails for the Black and Latinx students? If not, please request that from OIR, and have [redacted] send a letter to parents as well,” the email read.
PDE Vice President Caroline Moore told The Federalist that the evidence showed “deep-seated hate towards a specific demographic” and said that there was no tolerance for that kind of behavior.
PDE has requested that the Department of Education investigate IMSA, which has yet to comment on the allegations made.