A middle school drama teacher from Illinois has filed a lawsuit against Evanston/Skokie School District 65, claiming the teacher training materials and lessons about race and racism are discriminatory.
Stacy Deemar, who is white and has been a teacher for 20 years, filed the suit in the U.S. District Court in Chicago on June 29, alleging policies and programs in the district violate both the U.S. Constitution and the federal Civil Rights Act.
According to the suit, District 65 teaches children “to hate each other” and that their entire identity comes from the color of their skin, and that whiteness is a tool of oppression.
“They teach them not only how to be racist, but that they should be racist. And the District does this by treating people differently because of their race,” the suit.
Deemar’s attorney, Kimberly Hermann of the Georgia-based Southeastern Legal Foundation, told Fox32 the district is “segregating” students and teachers.
“The district is doing several things, one of them is segregating its teachers in its teacher training by their skin color,” Hermann said. “You put the white teachers in one room, and the non-white teachers in another room, and you actually give them different training.” The nonprofit Southeastern Legal Foundation is known for bringing conservative agenda issues to the courts.
The district responded to the suit in a statement the day after it was filed.
“Evanston/Skokie School District 65 was made aware that on June 29, 2021, Stacy Deemar filed a lawsuit against it. The School District has not yet been served with the lawsuit nor evaluated its claims with the Board of Education and legal counsel, and makes no comment concerning the lawsuit at this time.”
According to the district’s website, the purpose of the racial and educational equity policy is “to establish a framework for the elimination of bias, particularly racism and cultural bias, as factors affecting student achievement and learning experiences, and to promote learning and working environments that welcome, respect and value diversity.”
Deemar’s filing claims Superintendent Devon Horton recently declared to District 65 teachers, “If you’re
not antiracist, we can’t have you in front of our students.”
The suit names the school district, Horton, Deputy Superintendent LaTarsha Green, and former superintendent Stacy Beardsley as defendants.
Through training, teachers were forced to accept a variety of “antiracist” stances, including that “White identity is inherently racist,” the suit says.
According to the suit, critical race theory and culturally responsive teaching is really “code speak” for the practice of conditioning individuals to see each other’s skin color first and foremost, then pitting different racial groups against each other.
The lawsuit includes an image of a lesson purportedly taught to students in the district that characterizes whiteness as a binding contract that provides a person “stolen land, stolen riches and special favors.”
Hermann spoke critically of the lesson.
“When you have a picture of a white person dressed as a devil, telling the students that whiteness is a bad deal, and telling students that they need to sign away their whiteness, or in the classroom, saying an anti-racist pledge and putting it up on the board to look at every single day, you are telling students that they are either oppressed or the oppressor solely because of their skin color,” Hermann said. “Let’s get back to teaching people to look at the inside of people, and not put skin color as the only thing that we are looking at about a person.”
Deemar, who previously filed a complaint making many of the same claims with the federal Department of Education against her district in 2019, is seeking that the court enter a declaratory judgment condemning the district’s actions, and require the district to address the problems named in the suit. Deemar is also seeking to be granted attorney fees and $1 in nominal damages.