Parent group sues Shelburne school over ‘BIPOC only’ affinity group

By Guy Page

A parents group called Parents Defending Education (PDE) has filed suit against the Shelburne Community School, claiming its BIPOC Affinity Group is not open to all students and thus violates the federal 1964 Civil Rights Act. 

BIPOC stands for ‘Black, Indigenous, and People of Color.’ White-skinned people are not BIPOC. 

Its website says PDE is “a national grassroots organization working to reclaim our schools from activists promoting harmful agendas.” The organization has highlighted similar complaints against Burlington, South Burlington, and Essex schools. But the action taken against the Preschool-K-8th grade public school serving Shelburne in the Champlain Valley School District. 

PDE stated this week:

On January 3, 2023, Parents Defending Education (PDE) filed a federal civil rights complaint with the U.S. Department of Education against Shelburne Community School in Shelburne, Vermont for discrimination on the basis of race, color or national origin in programs or activities that receive Federal financial assistance in violation of both Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VI), 42 U.S.C. § 2000d et seq., and the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

PDE makes this complaint as an interested third-party organization that opposes racial discrimination and political indoctrination in America’s schools. Attached to this complaint is supporting evidence in the form of the school’s weekly newsletter from December 19, 2022 (Exhibit A), which promotes the creation of a “BIPOC Affinity Group.”

This exhibit reveals that Shelburne Community School is developing an “opt-in racial affinity group for students in grades 3-8 identifying as Black, Indigenous, or people of color.” Ex. A at 5. The program description does not make participation in these affinity groups open to all.

Accordingly, we ask that the Department promptly investigate the allegations in this complaint, act swiftly to remedy unlawful policies and practices, and order appropriate relief.

The CVSD has a six-member Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Department. LaShawn Sells is the SCS staffer. 

Categories: Education

17 replies »

  1. We will continue to subdivide ourselves till there is but one cell remains. There is no diversity within these groups promulgating their exclusionary practices.
    E pluribus unum needs remain the focus who we are as a nation. It does not demand we lose our self identity or worth but does make us reflect on the basis of our national core identity.

  2. Much praise is due to any person or group putting their neck on the block and fighting this ridiculous and EXCLUSIVE participation criteria. No better way to fight a fabricated civil rights action than with another civil rights action. Another way to deal with it is to use the left’s own tactics against them. Since we now must embrace the concept that “if you identify as something, that automatically makes you that status”, what is stopping the entire student body who wants to make waves simply “identifying as” BIPOC? The wording for inclusion in the affinity group states that it is open to those “identifying as Black, Indigenous, or People of Color”. Sounds like the honor system to me. Sounds just like the honor system that Sen. Elizabeth Warren used when she obtained a diversity-reserved professorship at Harvard. She claimed her grandfather noted the family’s high cheekbones and surmised there must be Cherokee in the bloodline. If you want to take advantage of a free hotel voucher in Vermont all you need to do is “claim to be” homeless on the honor system. That is essentially “identifying as homeless”. Personally, my skin is as pale as the day is long, but it is not “white”. It has a color…therefore am I not a “person of color”? Isn’t everyone?

    • Seriously! Enough of this nonsense. Let’s go back to the good old days when we separated people by color. Whites on one side, blacks on the other. Anything else goes in the middle. That way no one can ‘misidentify’ themselves. Miss those good old days

  3. Congratulations to the parents group here in Shelburne Community School and to other parents groups around Vermont that are standing up to all the filth going on in our local schools.

    During the Spring and Summer months of 2021, my “Vermonters for Vermont” Initiative hosted Town Halls around Vermont to discuss Critical Race Theory (CRT) teachinging in our schools. It is nice to see many people standing up and attending their local Schoolboard meetings and many tanning for the Schoolboard themselves.

    DEI and SEL programs are the tools being used, the definitions are being changed to fit the narrative, and the Teacher’s Unions are the worst of worst pushing this stuff.

    Teacher’s Union does not care about the children or the families, it’s only about their power and members dues.

    These children belong to the parents, not the schools and especially not the government.

    Moreover, pay attention to the Vermont legislature too. They are making laws to foster tools for these hate and destructive programs.

    Please consider running for your local Schoolboard or Town Select board my friends. Thank you, God bless you all.

    Gregory Thayer, MBA
    “Vermonters for Vermont” Initiative
    Rutland, Vermont 05702

  4. No standing down and no retreat. God be with these parents as they defend their children and all children against the evil in our midst – the liars and deceivers will not prevail.

  5. People should be careful what they ask for. If this lawsuit sets a precedent it will allow satanists to join a christian club.

  6. Go moms and dads!!! Never get in between a child and their parent. Never. Didn’t you ever learn that in, uh, school, Shelburne Community School? And by the way, just as an “aside” – such exclusion is unconstitutional.

  7. We can yell and scream all we want. Go to a million protests and school board meetings. However, litigation is the one and only way to stop this kind of nonsense.

  8. It would make sense to politely demand that if you have absolutely no interest in the game of chess than you shouldn’t join the Chess Club. It makes sense to have minimum athletic standards to meet to be on the varsity soccer team. It makes sense to allow for gender-segregation of teams when a sport involves rough contact. What does not make sense is to say that someone should not be considered for membership in an organization if their skin color or facial characteristics are not on a list of acceptable criteria. That is called racial discrimination. It is no different than a segregated water fountain or lunch counter.

  9. Great news! Head to Shelburne farms next! BTW…please definitively define black or indigenous…i. feeling marginalized.

  10. I encourage all who are giving voice here, would check out SOS – Save Our Schoolchildren facebook site – to leave comments and tell their stories. It can give people a means to connect and encourage formations of concerned parent groups in each school district – perhaps each elementary school setting.

    By Jan. 30, school board candidates need to turn in their signatures, but no candidate should feel alone in doing so – teams of concerned parents should stand with them. They should help the candidate get elected. They should gather to be educated on what has been introduced to erode our schools. Petitions like Milton did opposing some of the new trends of gender identity education, SEL, Panorama Education, Battelle for Kids, CRT, Equity education.. need to surface all around the state. No single group of concerned parents should stand alone either. There needs to be teaming of the parent groups, too. It takes teaming efforts and teaming with other school districts across the state.

    Speaking as a lifelong educator, the schools are not as healthy for the child/community as we should want our public schools to be. 17% math proficiency ratings aren’t very healthy are they EWSD and other districts? Too much time is going to these new topics and not enough into the 3R’s. And new math need not be so confusing as to require parents to hire tutors.

    60 years ago MLK had a DREAM calling to let FREEDOM ring. Come on parents, grandparents and community members, let’s team together – let’s ring the New Year’s bells for FREEDOM & UNITY!!!

  11. Go back in history. Those defending Jim Crow laws, segregated lunch counters and drinking fountains, and African Americans restricted to the back of the bus could have simply defined them as “affinity areas” by the current liberal “logic”.