OCR COMPLAINT: Denver Public Schools

OCR Complaints

On February 20, 2024, Parents Defending Education (PDE) filed a federal civil rights complaint with the U.S. Department of Education against Denver Public Schools in Denver, Colorado for discrimination on the basis of race 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 with members who are parents of school children throughout the country. PDE and its members oppose discrimination on the basis of race and political indoctrination in America’s schools. Denver Public Schools is requiring teachers and District staff to participate in a pledge of “Black Excellence” that will have a direct impact on course curriculum. This pledge is discriminatory in nature and directly impacts educational programming in District schools. Attached to this complaint is supporting evidence in the form of a social media post sent by the organization “End Wokeness” (Exhibit A) and an internal memo sent to Denver Public Schools staff “DPS Belief in and Commitment to Black Excellence,” which was obtained by the organization and also shared on their social media (Exhibit B).

Exhibit A highlights concepts and affirmations from “Black Excellence Pledge” shared with Denver Public Schools employees. The pledge states that “all educators need to understand the prevalence & deep harm whiteness brings to students,” promises “equity-based revisions to curriculum,” and encourages teachers to “Work to dismantle the system that allows certain students to excel, and others to perish.”

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.