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Biracial Student Was Allegedly Subjected To Taunts, Threats Of Failure By Teachers Because He Looks White

  Notions of “privilege” and claims of “white supremacy” have become rampant not only on college campuses but in K-12 schools as well, with ...

 Notions of “privilege” and claims of “white supremacy” have become rampant not only on college campuses but in K-12 schools as well, with numerous examples of students being taught that the color of their skin determines their success.

In one recent example, this practice is taken to the extreme when a biracial high school senior is berated because he is “apparently white.”

Bonnie Snyder, author and director of high school outreach at the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, wrote at Persuasion about the student, whose mother, Gabrielle Clark, ended up suing the school over her son’s treatment.

Gabrielle’s son, William, took his classes remotely so he could work a job and help out his family while his mother was disabled and unemployed. His father had died when he was very young. One day, Gabrielle decided to watch what William was being taught in class, and was horrified to learn that his teachers were bullying him because he was “the only apparent white boy in his class.” As Snyder wrote:

For years, schools have had “anti-bullying campaigns” to stop kids from picking on each other. But what if the bullying is coming from the teacher and school administrators? According to the family’s recently filed lawsuit, William was singled out and subjected to derogatory name-calling and hurtful labeling, based on his physical appearance. His teacher delivered regular “privilege checks” for William, which his mother described as “deliberate and protracted harassment” and “emotional abuse.” The classroom materials even implied that William’s white father probably physically abused his black mother, because—according to his lessons—that’s what white men do.

Gabrielle claims in her lawsuit that William and other students were told to “profess their identities which were then subjected to open, official scrutiny that assigned negative character attributes and worldviews based on unchangeable personal characteristics, such as race and gender,” according to Snyder.

William and some of his fellow students tried to object to the lesson but weren’t allowed to say anything. Further, when William refused to complete similar “identity confession” assignments or to agree with the teachers’ political statements, he was threatened with a failing grade.

Gabrielle hired attorneys to write a letter to the school about William’s treatment. She was granted a meeting with school administrators but said it didn’t seem like they were taking her seriously.

That’s when I withdrew my daughter and got the lawyers for my son,” she wrote in the lawsuit she filed afterward. “I’m not playing with these people.”

Her lawsuit claims the school violated her constitutional due process right to “family integrity and autonomy” by stepping on her “right and covenant to guide and direct the upbringing” of her two kids. It is unclear whether such a strategy will work.

Gabrielle and William are not the only ones to face such discrimination in the school system. Snyder also told the story of Roberto Sandoval, who learned his teen daughter was being asked about her “privilege” at school with statements like, “My skin color gives me privileges I didn’t earn … Your skin color gives you struggles you didn’t deserve.” 


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