Mass. School Subject of Federal Probe For ‘Racial Segregation’ After Banning White Students From Play
Sunday, March 5, 2023
The Department of Education has launched a federal investigation into the Newton Public School District following a theatre production at Newton North High School, which prohibited white students from auditioning.
The school’s Theater Ink program presented a production titled ‘Lost and Found: Our Stories as People of Color,’ and according to the show’s audition packet, it was designated as “a reserved safe space for this exploration and for people of color to be vulnerable and support one another,” according to the UK’s Daily Mail.
During the auditions held last fall, the student director of the theatre production posted a video on the company’s website, explicitly stating that “All BIPOC [Black, indigenous, and people of color] students at North are invited to audition.”
It was at this juncture that Parents Defending Education, a nationwide grassroots movement, became involved and submitted a complaint to the federal government accusing the school district of practicing racial discrimination against students.
According to the complaint filed, the audition criteria, which involved inquiring about the race and ethnicity of students, was deemed to be a violation of both Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, the report said.
Nicole Neily, the President and Founder of PDE, informed Fox News that the school’s administration “failed their student body by allowing a racially-segregated production to move forward – and missed the opportunity to impart the lesson that racial discrimination is always wrong.”
The Lost and Found audition packet explicitly stated that weekly rehearsals for the production would involve “organized discussions about race and identity in our lives.”
The Daily Mail noted further:
The Newton Public School system, which is the entity being investigated by DOE, previously told Fox Digital that it is committed to encouraging all of its students to participate in the theatre program, “particularly students of color, who have been vastly underrepresented in our programs.”
“While centered in the stories of the lives of our students of color, no one is turned away or excluded from participating or having a role in the ‘Lost and Found’ production of Theatre Ink, Newton North’s teaching and working theater program,” the district said in a statement. “The Newton Public Schools do not exclude students based upon color, race, ethnicity, or religious background.”
Despite its commitment to promoting inclusivity, NPS appeared to offer its endorsement for the Lost and Found theatrical project, thereby seemingly approving the high school’s casting methods.
“We are proud of our students for the hard work they do to not only assemble a diverse group of performers, but also to challenge each other to have difficult conversations around societal issues,” the district added. “Theatre Ink has consistently provided opportunities for students to tell and celebrate the narratives and stories of those who have been historically underrepresented.
“Amplifying the stories, experiences, and history of students of color is just one component of our diverse fine and performing arts programs,’ the statement continued, additionally offering that it fully supports ‘the premise and educational value of this performance.”
A former student of the school noted on Facebook: “What on Earth, I am appalled. This is not the High School I graduated from. We were All Tigers. Apparently not anymore. It’s Time to clean house and remove activist educators.”