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‘Only white people could be racist’: Staff sue district over mandatory ‘equity’ training

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By Kendall Tietz
Daily Caller News Foundation

Two employees of Missouri’s largest school district filed a complaint Wednesday against their government employer, alleging they were forced to affirm and promote an ideology with which they disagree.

Springfield Public Schools (SPS) employees Brooke Henderson and Jennifer Lumley claim that while the First Amendment protects public school employees from viewpoint discrimination, the school district “forces teachers and staff to affirm views they do not support, to disclose personal details that they wish to keep private, and to self-censor on matters of public interest,” according to the complaint.

SPS warns staff to “be professional” and “stay engaged” during equity training or they would be asked to leave and receive no credit, according to the complaint. This district-wide staff training program “demands that its staff ‘commit’ to equity and become ‘anti-racist educators.’”

All SPS staff either undergo “‘equity training’ to learn about oppression, white supremacy and systemic racism” or face pay reductions, the complaint states. Henderson works as an advocate for students with disabilities and Lumley is a secretary.

The equity training program materials define white supremacy as “the all-encompassing centrality and assumed superiority of people defined and perceived as white,” referring to an article by Robin DiAngelo, a progressive academic who wrote such books as “White Fragility” and “Nice Racism.” The complaint also states that SPS requires staff to discuss the “Oppression Matrix” and to identify th

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