Posted on February 27, 2024

Denver School District and Its ‘Latinx’ Supt Slapped with Federal Complaint over Memo Asking Staff to Endorse Anti-Racism Pledge

James Reinl, Daily Mail, February 22, 2024

Denver Public Schools has been hit with a federal civil rights complaint over a memo it sent to some 13,000 staff, asking they endorse a ‘black excellence’ pledge about the ‘deep harm whiteness brings to students.’

The conservative group Parents Defending Education (PDE) filed a complaint with the Department of Education’s civil rights office this week, accusing the district of ‘discrimination’ by prioritizing black students over others.

The memo says it was sent by the district’s senior leadership and its $305,000-a-year Supt. Dr Alex Marrero, who describes himself as the son of a refugee and the ‘first Latinx head of the city’s school system.’

The complaint is the latest example of the backlash against what many conservatives and others see as an overreaching ‘reverse racism’ after the Black Lives Matter movement erupted in 2020.

Denver Public Schools, the biggest educator in Colorado with 207 schools serving nearly 90,000 students with an annual $1.42 billion budget, did not answer’s request for comment.

The Department of Education’s civil rights team handles complaints about discrimination in schools and colleges. It does not act on every complaint.

The controversial memo presents itself as ‘belief in and commitment to black excellence’ designed to address the ‘years of harm, trauma, and racism’ that African Americans have suffered.

It was made public by the @endwokeness X/Twitter account last month.

The pledge states that ‘all educators need to understand white supremacy, white privilege and the prevalence and deep harm whiteness brings to students and team members.’

It promises to deliver ‘equity-based revisions to curriculum,’ and urges teachers to ‘work to dismantle the system that allows certain students to excel, and others to perish.’

The document quotes Robin Diangelo and Jamilah Pitts, two prominent advocates of the controversial approach to overturning racism that is known as critical race theory.

According to PDE, the memo is unfair because it makes teachers prioritize the ‘social, political and educational needs of some children over others solely based on the color of their skin.’

It will also tie-up teachers in ‘hours of onerous trainings that focus solely on outcomes for black students.’

These are violations of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, says the complaint.

Marrero has in videos spoken of the need to ‘disrupt the status quo’ in schools and talks about helping students of all backgrounds with an ‘equity-based strategic plan.’

In his profile on the school website, he is described as the ‘son of a Cuban refugee and a Dominican immigrant’ who became the ‘first Latinx head of the city’s school system.’

Thanks to this background, he ‘understands firsthand and advocates for the diverse needs of his students,’ it adds.

Some racial justice campaigners say schools need to help overcome centuries of racial discrimination and level the playing field for black students so they have a better chance in life.

Critics of this say such ‘diversity, equity and inclusion’ efforts very quickly become little more than ‘white-shaming’ or ‘reverse racism’ that breed enmity in classrooms and end up hurting all students.