On January 3, 2023, Parents Defending Education (PDE) filed a federal civil rights complaint with the U.S. Department of Education against Ashland School District in Ashland, Oregon 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 lists of affinity groups at Ashland High School (Exhibit A), Ashland Middle School (Exhibit B), and a job posting for an “Elementary Student Affinity Group Advisor” (Exhibit C), which is posted online at ZipRecruiter and denotes a placement at Bellview Elementary School (Exhibit D).
This exhibit reveals that Ashland School District’s affinity group programming at all three levels – elementary school, middle school, and high school – are only open to students of specific ethnicities, and the program descriptions do 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.
On March 20, 2023 the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights opened an investigation into this complaint. See the letter here.
RESOLVED: On May 8, 2023 the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights resolved the complaint stating that the school district will now open the race-specific groups to all students. See the letter here.