Parent Sues Prestigious Los Angeles Brentwood School Over “Racially Divisive, Anti-Semitic Ideology That Seeks to Indoctrinate Children to Reject Western Values”
The complaint alleges Brentwood substituted a classical curriculum with one based in racial greivances, promoted racially segregated parent meetings, and “sandbagged” the formation of an affinity group of Jewish parents concerned about such changes.
Brentwood School in Los Angeles, where tuition can reach over $46,000/yr, is considered one of the most prestigious K-12 schools nationally, and the alma mater of famous figures such as Jonah Hill, Patrick Schwarzenegger and Andrew Breitbart. Both the school and its head of school Michael Reira were recently named respondents in a new lawsuit filed on June 8 by a parent, Jerome Eisenberg.
According to his complaint, Eisenberg was satisfied with the 7th grade education his daughter received in the 2019-20 academic session, but he alleges that the school made drastic and surreptitious changes to their curriculum in 2020-21, after he had committed for his daughter to attend the school for that year. He also claims the school organized racially segregated meetings and discriminated against a group of Jewish families, faculty and staff, what he termed in the Complaint a “scheme to transform the school under a racially divisive, anti-Semitic ideology that seeks to indoctrinate children to reject Western values.”
The school gained notoriety last year as a culture war battleground after school community members spoke out about what they saw as drastic curriculum changes prompted by the killing of George Floyd.
Brentwood School is a member of the National Association of Independent Schools (NAIS), an organization that guides the governance of over 1,600 private K-12 schools (called “independent” schools) throughout the country. The NAIS drives the radical racial and gender programming now endemic in these elite schools that feed higher education, journalism, politics, and government.
The action was filed on his behalf by the Pivtorak law firm, in California Superior Court for Los Angeles County.
NEW LAWSUIT ALERT: Today my firm filed an action against the Brentwood School, a prestigious private school in LA, alleging that it engaged in anti-Semitic discrimination against Jewish parents who were concerned about radical DEI policies being implemented behind their backs.
— David Pivtorak (@piv4law) June 8, 2022
Allegations of a divisive “New World Order”
According to the complaint, soon after the killing of George Floyd, the Brentwood School handed over control of the curriculum to its “Office of Equity and Inclusion,” an internal arm whose “staffing had increased ten-fold in a short period of time.”
Eisenberg further alleges that this resulted in a shift to a “race-based operational model” that “fundamentally transformed the agreement entered into with parents and students without consent, knowledge, opportunity for discussion, or alternatives,” changing a classically liberal education towards “a forced re-education that rejects Enlightenment values in favor of an identity-based ideology of grievance, resentment, and racial divisiveness.”
Examples listed include the school replacing classic fiction such as “To Kill a Mockingbird” and “Lord of the Flies” with Ibram X. Kendi’s “Stamped” and the 1619 Project curriculum, and that the Head of School withheld these changes from parents, only gradually revealing them via public communications throughout the ’20-’21 year. At one point, the complaint reads, the English Department “told parents that if they wanted their children to read Shakespeare or Hemingway, they should do it on their own free time.”
Eisenberg claims that when he questioned why these radical changes were being made unilaterally without parent input, he was told the school’s educators were the experts, and parents’ ideas “were now outdated.” According to him, Riera went on to say that a “new world order” was coming, and if the school didn’t make changes now, an opportunity to capture the “hearts and minds” of the students would be lost.
In addition, the suit mentions that “young students were also given a diagram called ‘How am I Addressing White Supremacy?’ that accuses them of ‘racism’ and ‘anti-blackness’ based purely on the color of their skin.” A reference to this diagram shows an escalating series of affirmations along a scale that frames silence and a belief that “all lives matter” as backward, and more radical political commitments as more evolved.
The plaintiff contends that as a result of these newly implemented policies, “the atmosphere at Brentwood changed completely. Teachers began to engage in racial and political humiliation of their students.” He claims that middle-school teachers “confronted their students about their ‘white privilege,’ and how they were going to redeem themselves,” and that students were compelled to study charts like the one above that “made bigoted assumptions about them and required them to engage in political activism based on those assumptions.”
Accusations of disparate treatment and “sandbagging” a Jewish parents’ group
Later in the complaint, Eisenberg alleges that the defendants “intentionally stifled…community members from forming a Jewish affinity group,” by failing to communicate with them, providing contradictory instructions, and requiring without explanation two faculty advisors instead of the single advisor other groups needed. Additionally, Eisenberg claims the Jewish group was not permitted to choose their own parent committee, a right afforded to other groups. According to the allegations, Riera “forced out the individuals chosen by the Jewish parents group and installed his own preferred candidates, who had no ties or involvement with the group’s formation” in order for him to “exercise personal control.”
Allegations of Racially Segregated meetings
The suit goes on to alleges that in January 2021, the school announced racially segregated zoom meetings for faculty, staff, and parents, called ‘Dialogue & Community-building Sessions.’Eisenberg says that when he pleaded with the school to end this “racially discriminatory” conduct, and “reinstate the race-neutral policies promised in their agreement,” Defendant Riera threatened to expel his daughter immediately unless he remain silent. Although Eisenberg claims he complied with the head of school’s request, ultimately his daughter’s offer to return as a 9th grader was revoked.
David Pivtorak of the Pivtorak Law Firm, who is representing Eisenberg in the case, offered this comment:
“I think this case exemplifies the idea that with extremism—whether of the far-left or far-right variety—the horseshoe always converges on anti-Semitism. We saw this with the Ethnic Studies Model Curriculum that California was trying to mandate for every schoolchild that singled out Jews for their supposed “privilege” and we’re seeing it with the proliferation of DEI departments throughout most of our institutions. Make no mistake, most parents hate that their kids are being exposed to this but don’t dare speak out for fear of being ostracized. I’m extremely proud of Mr. Eisenberg for bravely taking on this fight to protect his child. Hopefully this will encourage others to take action and save their children from this radical ideology.”
We reached out to Brentwood, but as of this writing we have not received a comment from either the school or Head of School. In a New York Post story published June 11, 2022, a spokesman for the school asserted that “The allegations contained in the complaint are baseless, a work of whole fiction and nothing more than a desperate attempt to embarrass the school.” A Daily Mail story released the same day quotes a representative of the school as saying further that “The plaintiff’s arguments are unsupported by actual facts and we look forward to proving that in court.”DONATE
Donations tax deductible
to the full extent allowed by law.