The News: The Wisconsin Institute for Law & Liberty (WILL) issued a letter, Monday, to Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) Superintendent, Dr. Carlton Jenkins, urging the school district to address the racial segregation employed at Madison West High School for Zoom conversations on current events. This is the second occasion in the last year where WILL has warned MMSD that racial segregation in education is illegal under federal law.
The Quote: WILL Deputy Counsel, Dan Lennington, said, “Racial segregation is never beneficial or benign. It is our hope that the leadership at MMSD take this opportunity to commit the school district to the principle of equality and end all racial segregation immediately.”
Background: Recently, an email originating from the Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) invited families of Madison West High School to a conversation related to “all the police brutality and violence that is going on.” After asserting that it is “very necessary to have space for our families to discuss and process,” the email provides two different Zoom links: one for Parents of Color and another for White Parents.
These racially segregated discussion groups are plainly unconstitutional. In 1954, in Brown v. Board of Education, the Supreme Court famously decided “that in the field of public education the doctrine of ‘separate but equal’ has no place.” Courts have re-affirmed this principle over and over, yet MMSD’s policy flies in the face of that settled doctrine and the basic constitutional command that governments, including school districts, must not discriminate based on race.
In July 2020, WILL issued a letter to Madison West High School administrators when the school hosted a similar racially segregated virtual conversation.