The School District of Elmbrook is committed to providing a caring and respectful learning environment so that every student is ready for life, college and career success. While we work tirelessly to build community, it is all too apparent that others only seek to divide us.
The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) released a letter dated March 9, 2022, which falsely asserts, “it is the official position of the Elmbrook Schools that race discrimination laws do not apply to white students.” WILL could not have read the entire report it cites and credibly have come to that conclusion.
The School District of Elmbrook wants to make clear, it does not tolerate discrimination on the basis of race or any other protected class. As clearly defined in the District’s Pupil Nondiscrimination/Anti-Harassment Policy, all racial groups are members of protected classes and treated equally.
The basis for WILL’s false claim is a statement from a report written in response to a complaint from a parent of a child in the District. WILL has chosen to extract one paragraph from the multi-page report which, taken out of context, could be read to convey a position not held by the District. In addition, WILL has chosen to omit several key facts in their accusations against the District.
The original complaint in this matter was filed on September 21, 2021 by parents of a student in the District. The parents alleged, “Discrimination on the basis of race, sexual orientation, and socio-economic status.” The parents claimed that because their child was a white, heterosexual, upper middle-class female, she was “denied ethical and equal treatment” afforded to students who were in protected classes traditionally defined as “underserved” or “minority.”
After a thorough investigation of the complaint and the individuals involved, the District found there was:
[N]o evidence that the student was discriminated against based on race, sexual orientation, and socio-economic class . . . or that the student was denied the following based on her race, sexual orientation, and socio-economic status
The report also stated:
[T]here is no evidence that the student’s race, sexual orientation, and socio-economic status was a factor in any decision made by the District or that if the student would have been a member of an underserved group or protected class that she would have been given a different opportunity to meet her needs.
The report also referenced the District’s policy on “Pupil Nondiscrimination/Anti-Harassment” (Policy 6005) which clearly states in relevant part, the following:
The District is firmly committed to an educational environment that is free of discrimination and harassment in any form. State and federal student nondiscrimination law protects the following factors: Sex, race, religion, color, national origin, ancestry, creed, pregnancy, marital or parental status, sexual orientation, or physical, mental, emotional, learning disability, or handicap.
Discrimination means any action, policy or practice, including bias, stereotyping and student harassment which is detrimental to a person or group of persons and differentiates or distinguishes among persons, or limits or denies a person or group of persons opportunities, privileges, roles or rewards based, in whole or in part, on these factors.
None of the information above was included in WILL’s letter. Instead, WILL chose to only reference the following language that was taken out of context:
Although there is no evidence that the student’s race (White), sexual orientation (Heterosexual) and socio-economic status (middle-upper middle-class) were a consideration in any decision made by the District regarding the student, it must also be noted that the student is not a member of any class that is legally protected from discrimination by state or federal law. To the contrary, the student’s race, sexual orientation and socio-economic status are what are considered to be the majority status and thus do not form a basis for claiming that the student is being treated or has been treated less favorably than persons not in the protected class.
While the statement referenced by WILL could have been stated more clearly, Elmbrook’s official position is that it does not tolerate discrimination on the basis of race or any other protected class. It was the complaint itself that asserted the student would have been treated more favorably had she been a member of “a protected class.” The paragraphs above were crafted in response to the complainant’s definition of and assertions regarding “protected class.”
Not surprisingly, WILL appears to have taken one clause entirely out of context, ignored the vast majority of the report, and failed to consider the specific allegations in this matter. WILL’s attempt to divide our community is wrong and we call upon WILL to cease these meritless accusations.
Finally, we want all Elmbrook students, families and community members to know the District protects and serves all students regardless of race, sexual orientation or socio-economic status, and we will not be pressured by any outside organization to pursue any agenda to the contrary. We are proud of the rigorous academic learning environment provided to all students, and value our partnership with families who seek to support our District’s mission and vision.