Court filing reinforces fundamental right “that a school cannot, under the guise of “curriculum”, invade its students’ consciences and require them to affirm beliefs they find repugnant”.
A first-in-the-nation hearing in US federal court challenging despicable “critical race theory” unfolded extremely well last week in Las Vegas, Nevada with the judge remarking that the First Amendment challenge to the instruction is likely to succeed. IOF, publisher of iFamNews.com, is at the center of the litigation as the creator of SchoolHouseRights.org which is supporting this lawsuit.
The lawsuit has been brought by attorneys for SchoolHouseRights.org on behalf of William Clark, a bi-racial high school senior and his black mother, Gabrielle Clark. William’s academic career and college prospects have been put into deep jeopardy by school administrators because he objects to his mandatory civics class which decrees that his skin color, gender, sexuality and religious beliefs determine whether William is “privileged” and an “oppressor,” or whether he is the victim of oppression.
According to comments published to Twitter by SchoolHouseRights.org lawyers representing the mother and son plaintiffs, the judge indicated in public statements that “our First Amendment claim is likely to succeed.”
A follow-up tweet on March 3rd from the lawyers representing William and Gabrielle, provided more specificity. The Federal District Court judge stated, “I think William is likely to succeed on the merits” of his First Amendment claim of compelled speech. “The speech is likely compelled,” the judge reasoned, and so “defendants would need to justify the curriculum under a strict scrutiny test…that’s a high bar to meet…and it seems difficult for these exercises, at least on their face, to survive strict scrutiny.”
The court hearing from last week has generated quite a bit of national interest, especially via Twitter. Prominent conservative professor Dr. Jordan Peterson tweeted out a post to his 1.7 million followers, which generated a huge degree of online commentary. “It is unbelievable (at least it should be) that this is really happening,” one of his followers replied. “Compelled speech is so incredibly terrifying with all the insane dynamics and power required to produce it,” replied another. “One hopes it is the first step in a stampede,” replied a third person.
Prominent journalist Megyn Kelly also tweeted out her thoughts on the case to her 2.4 million followers. “TAKE NOTE – fed court sees likelihood of success on a claim challenging the racist lunacy (CRT) being taught in schools- plaintiff says his First Amd rights were violated by his school forcing him to identify & “deconstruct” his race (& alleges a hostile racial school environment).”
Numerous others also tweeted out notice of the court development, including leading LGBT activist Andrew Sullivan and noted Yale Professor Nicholas Christakis.
This case is the first time that the constitutionality of “critical race theory” instruction has been examined in federal court. William and his mother objected to subjecting him to this despicable class, which was newly introduced as William entered his senior year. He is the only student in the class who appears to be white (even though he is half-black), and as a male and a Christian knew that he would be falsely labeled as having “privilege” and being an “oppressor.” The class materials decree that a person of color cannot be bigoted and that someone who is labeled as privileged or an oppressor cannot deny the allegations. Even worse, once labeled as “privileged or “oppressive” based on characteristics such as race, religious beliefs, etc. students must then “unlearn” and “fight back” against the “oppressive structures” implicit in their family arrangements, religious beliefs and practices, and racial, sexual and gender identities.
William and his mother repeatedly requested an accommodation from the school, such as being able to take a different civics class. The school declared that this class was mandatory and the accommodation request would not be considered. When William continued to object, the school suspended him, issued a failing grade in violation of school policy, and is presently threatening to withhold his high school graduation.
At the heart of this case is a “compelled speech” First Amendment argument that students cannot be forced to speak in support of concepts like critical race theory that they find to be repugnant. Given the judge’s comments that William and his mother are likely to prevail on their First Amendment claim, it would seem that prospects are good for a victory on the merits when a hearing occurs this April.
iFamNews.com will continue to follow this case as it develops.