DISMISSED OCR Complaint: Newton Public Schools

OCR Complaints

On March 14, 2023, Parents Defending Education (PDE) filed a federal civil rights complaint with the U.S. Department of Education against Newton Public Schools in Newton, Massachusetts 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 with members who are parents of schoolchildren throughout the country. PDE and its members oppose racial discrimination and political indoctrination in America’s schools. Newton Public Schools is using taxpayer funding to offer academic programming during school hours for students of specific races that are not open to all students.

Attached to this complaint is Newton North High School’s Dover Legacy Scholars Program information page, “More about DLS” (Exhibit A), which outlines qualifications for participation in the program, the “Dover Legacy Scholars” Program (“DLS”) on Newton North High School’s website, which describes qualifications for participating in the affinity group (Exhibit B), and School Profiles from Newton North High School (Exhibit C) and Newton South High School (Exhibit D), which acknowledge Dover Legacy Scholars Programs at their respective institutions.

The “More about DLS” information page reveals participants are “young Black and Latinx scholars who work hard and are interested in pursuing their academics seriously” (Ex. A at 1). The affinity group specifically targets students who are looking for academically challenging courses and “feel they would benefit from some extra support from mentors and from a group of peers with whom they can identify” (Ex. A at 1).

Although this affinity group aim(s) “is to make sure the Scholars feel supported and fully connected to each other and all aspects of the Newton North Experience,” it is clear this affinity group is not open to all students who attend Newton North High School (Ex. A at 1).

On November 28, 2023 the U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights dismissed this complaint. See the letter here.