School play at Newton North High School restricted to only students who identify as “people of color”


Newton North High School has a theater called “Theatre Ink” to give students opportunities to audition and participate in plays. The school’s theater has a standalone website that links directly to the official Black Lives Matter organization. The theater’s website also encourages students to audition in an upcoming performance called “Lost and Found: Our Stories as People of Color.” The show appears to be restricted for only “people of color” and is scheduled to take place on January 19-21, 2023. The audition packet for the show explains:

Lost and Found is a no-cut, cabaret-style show for students of color at North. This show was created 2 years by [an alumni of the school] to provide a safe community space for students of color to express themselves through the performing arts. From hardships to celebrations, people of color have countless stories to tell. Lost and Found will be a reserved safe space for this exploration and for people of color to be vulnerable and support one another. One of the aspects that make Lost and Found special is that it centers on community building by having full-cast rehearsals once a week where we have organized discussions about race and identity in our lives.

The following options appear to be given for students to choose from when auditioning:

  • Acting: Please select a monologue (we recommend around a minute in length). It should be memorized. You can choose from our list here for female monologues or here for male monologues. You are also welcome to audition with an original monologue or one you have already selected.
  • Singing: Please select a cut of music (we recommend the length of a verse and a chorus). You should sing a song you are comfortable singing and one you feel shows off your vocal abilities. You are welcome to audition with an original song or one you have already selected. Here’s a link to our Spotify playlist for inspiration.
  • Dancing: Please perform a 30-60 second routine. If you are auditioning with a dance choreographed by someone other than yourself, please indicate when you slate yourself.
  • Writing: If you wish to submit a written monologue, script, or song, please send either a PDF file or a Google Doc of your piece to us at [email protected].
  • Other (Such as Artwork): If you wish to audition with another piece, please email us at [email protected].
The school’s theater website promotes the official Black Lives Matter organization.

The audition packet links to a form for students to complete in order to claim an audition spot. The form asks students to submit a headshot image, their preferred pronouns, and how they “identify racially/ethnically.”

The form to audition asks students about their preferred pronouns and how they “identify racially/ethnically.”

Parents Defending Education filed a complaint with the Office of Civil Rights (OCR) on October 4th, 2022. The full complaint is below.

Update: In response to the complaint we filed with the Office of Civil Rights, the principal of Newton North High School sent an email to families as did the steering committee of the group, Families Organizing for Racial Justice. Both emails contain contradictory information about the exclusionary nature of the production.