Board president defended the decision from critics, saying that for “people of color,” being “surrounded by other people similar to them, makes it easier.”
At a February 10th meeting, the school board of this Seattle suburb defended tailoring invitations to a recent meeting by skin color. Board president Anne Moore defended the decision from critics, saying that for “people of color,” being “surrounded by other people similar to them, makes it easier.”
— Libs of Tik Tok (@libsoftiktok) February 26, 2022
Lesha Engels, a spokesperson for the board, had claimed that invitations do not qualify as examples of racial segregation, saying “All parents are welcome to attend any of the 4 parent meetings, they are not segregated,” even though the invitations in a district bulletin are clearly tailored “for Parents/Guardians of Color”.
Several parents who commented at the board meeting expressed their disapproval.
“By holding a separate meeting for people of color, it is the same as saying people of color are not welcome to attend the other meetings,” a former board candidate testified at the public comment portion of the meeting. “So we have created a separate one just for them. We are an integrated community, all wanting the same thing — to hire the person best qualified for the job as superintendent. The one who will care about raising up all of our students. Why are you trying to divide and separate us by color? Really? Is this the example you want to set for our students? Shame on all of you.”
Another recent article points out that racially coding their invitation places the school board on shaky legal ground.
They can’t legally discriminate against parents on the basis of race. But they can, they assume, title meetings in ways that force white parents to self-select out of the meetings. They may not be able to legally discriminate, and obviously won’t admit that’s their intent in writing, but they can strongly imply that white people aren’t welcome.
According to Issaquah’s Equity Advisory Group, “equity means giving special focus to certain groups” in the name of “targeted universalism,” a recent “progressive” trend in institutions that justifies disparate treatment of racialized groups, in the name of equality of outcome.
In Fox News interview published after the scheduled meeting, Seattle radio host Jason Rantz added,
“Apparently that whole concept of separate but equal is not covered in critical race theory…Now, after hearing an earful from angry and offended parents at this last school board meeting, which by the way, included parents of color, they got called out. School board then defends the separate but equal meeting.”
It’s not yet known as of this writing if the Issaquah school board plans to continue to tailor invitations for future meetings to particular racialized groups.
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