OCR Complaint: New York City Public Schools

OCR Complaints

On December 2, 2021, Parents Defending Education (PDE) filed a federal civil rights complaint with the U.S. Department of Education against New York City Public Schools in New York City, New York, 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 of the U.S. Constitution.

**UPDATE** On December 8, PDE posted additional information received regarding the affinity groups at Lower Manhattan Community School:

  • June 17, 2020: minutes from the Schools & Education Committee of Community Board #2 meeting in Manhattan, where Principal Shanna Douglas discussed the school’s affinity groups, and a resolution was introduced to “reduce systemic racism in our public schools.”
  • March 19, 2021: an invitation to an affinity group, titled “Is it funny? Or is it racist?” This email notes that participation in this affinity group is MANDATORY.
  • May 29, 2021: an email from Principal Shanna Douglas that implored students who did not complete a survey at the end of the last affinity group to complete it so that the school can “create a new mission statement on race.”
  • November 15-19, 2021: an email sent to the full school community discussing the affinity groups to occur on November 23-24, wherein “7th and 8th graders will explore the question ‘How do our racial identities influence our experiences?'”
  • November 16, 2021: an email sent to students for them to choose their affinity group through an online form.