Feds. Investigating Massachusetts High School for ‘Racial Segregation’ Against White Students

A theatre production at a Massachusetts High School has put the school district under federal investigation by the Department of Education after the company barred white students from auditioning.

Newton North High School’s Theater Ink program put on a show titled ‘Lost and Found: Our Stories as People of Color.’ The Daily Mail reported that the show’s audition packet read that the show was “a reserved safe space for this exploration and for people of color to be vulnerable and support one another.”

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The Mail also reported that, during auditions, the shows student director invited “All BIPOC [Black, indigenous and people of color] students at North are invited to audition” through a video on the company website.

At that point, the national grassroots movement Parents Defending Education got involved and filed a complaint with the federal government that the school district discriminated against students based on race.

After being made aware of the video, the national grassroots movement Parents Defending Education filed a complaint with the federal government against the school district for allowing the discrimination of students based on race.

In a statement to Fox, Parents Defending Education President and Founder Nicole Neily said that the district had “failed their student body by allowing a racially-segregated production to move forward – and missed the opportunity to impart the lesson that racial discrimination is always wrong.”

According to the suit, the audition criteria violated “both Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 … and the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution” because it asked for students’  race and ethnicity.

In response, the school denied engaging in such practices, stating, “The Newton Public Schools do not exclude students based upon color, race, ethnicity, or religious background.”

However, at the same time, the school praised the racial mission of the production.

“While centered in the stories of the lives of our students of color, no one is turned away or excluded from participating or having a role in the ‘Lost and Found’ production of Theatre Ink, Newton North’s teaching and working theater program

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The school went so far as to seemingly condone the casting choices, praising its diversity despite claiming such decisions and policies do not exist.

“We are proud of our students for the hard work they do to not only assemble a diverse group of performers, but also to challenge each other to have difficult conversations around societal issues,” the district added. “Theatre Ink has consistently provided opportunities for students to tell and celebrate the narratives and stories of those who have been historically underrepresented. Amplifying the stories, experiences, and history of students of color is just one component of our diverse fine and performing arts programs.”

Despite this, The Department of Education quickly minimized its investigation’s significance.

“Please note that opening the complaint for investigation in no way implies that OCR has made a determination on the merits of the complaint. During the investigation, OCR is a neutral fact- finder, collecting and analyzing relevant evidence from you, the District, and other sources, as appropriate.”

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