MADISON, Wis. (AP) — A conservative legal group is challenging a Wisconsin school district over an email sent to families soliciting their participation in what appeared to be racially segregated meetings to discuss the verdict in the trial of the white former Minneapolis police officer convicted of killing George Floyd.
The Wisconsin Institute for Law and Liberty sent a letter to Madison School District Superintendent Carlton Jenkins on Monday highlighting part of an email sent to West High School parents that included a “Zoom link for parents of color” and a “Zoom link for white parents” for last week’s meetings.
“Our hope is that Dr. Jenkins will take a fresh look at this and say racism and segregation has no place in the Madison Metropolitan School District,” WILL deputy counsel Daniel Lennington said.
The email to West High parents stated that, in the wake of the guilty verdict of Derek Chauvin for killing Floyd, a Black man, “it is very necessary for our families to have space to discuss and process,” the State Journal reported. Floyd’s death last May triggered worldwide protests, violence and a furious reexamination of racism and policing in the U.S.
In a statement Monday, West High School Principal Karen Boran apologized for the wording of the email and said the intent was to provide supportive places for people with shared identities or common experiences to come together to discuss the topic of police brutality against people of color.
Boran said a diverse team of West staff members created the two Zoom links, one for parents of color and one for white parents of students of color, at the request of students, families and staff who expressed frustration at having to justify their experiences and perspectives.
“This sends the message that white people and people of color differ so much based on the color of their skin that they cannot come together and discuss issues without one side getting offended or upset,” Lennington said.
The Madison School District does not exclude participants from meetings based on the color of their skin, spokesman Tim LeMonds said.
Find AP’s full coverage of the death of George Floyd at: https://apnews.com/hub/death-of-george-floyd