School lessons on Black Lives Matter are anti-Christian, parents say in PA lawsuit

·3 min read

A Pennsylvania school district has been sued by Christian parents over classroom discussions involving Black Lives Matter and systemic racism.

The lawsuit, filed Monday in federal court by Maureen and Christopher Brophy, states lessons that involve systematic racism, white fragility, religion, white privilege, Black Lives Matter and police brutality “are unacceptable and will not be tolerated.”

The parents seek an undisclosed amount of damages from the East Penn School District because they feel their children were discriminated against after they complained to administration about the teachings.

“(The) parents explained that these topics are anti-Christian and therefore, discriminate directly against their religion,” according to the lawsuit.

The parents’ children attend Emmaus High School and were introduced to the book “White Fragility” in the fall, according to the lawsuit. The book, written by Robin DiAngelo, explores “the counterproductive reactions white people have when their assumptions about race are challenged.”

Maureen Brophy said in an email to school administration she did not deem the book acceptable because of the “Black Lives Matter organization’s hostility towards Christianity.” A month later, the parents sent another letter to an administrator to say they did not feel videos shown in class regarding police brutality and the Breonna Taylor case were the best examples to use to demonstrate advocacy.

A request by the parents to exempt their children from the topics was denied in February by the school’s superintendent, according to the lawsuit. The superintendent then banned the parents from communicating with their children’s teachers.

The parents felt “degraded, victimized, embarrassed, and emotionally distressed” by the superintendent’s actions, the lawsuit states.

Because the parents voiced “the religious discrimination,” they say the school retaliated by discriminating against the children over their disabilities. The parents say the children were not able to receive various educational opportunity or benefits.

“The retaliatory discrimination was severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive,” the lawsuit alleges.

In response to the allegations, East Penn School District Solicitor Marc S. Fisher said, “Anybody can file a lawsuit by paying the filing fee. Being successful is something completely different,” Lehigh Valley Live reported.

Rev. Gregory Edwards, senior pastor of Resurrected Life Community Church in Allentown, told The Morning Call that true Christians should not take offense to the school’s teachings.

“The only ‘Christians’ offended by teaching subjects or topics that will dismantle the sin of racism and the scourge of white supremacy from public schools or any other institutions or systems are those who have weaponized their faith in order to protect an idolatrous worldview of whiteness, privilege and white supremacy,” Edwards told the publication.

Critical Race Theory

The lawsuit comes on the heels of nationwide discussions involving Critical Race Theory. The American Bar Association defines the theory as instruction that explores and “critiques how the social construction of race and institutionalized racism perpetuate a racial caste system that relegates people of color to the bottom tiers.”

The theory has turned political and efforts to ban its teachings have led to school board meetings being swarmed, lawsuits and federal complaints, NBC News reported.

The term has turned into a “catchall term for discussions of race,” The New York Times reported, and more than 20 states now are seeking to restrict these type of lessons.

Nearly 100 national organizations signed onto a statement authored this week stating their “firm opposition” to such legislation. The statement was authored by The American Association of University Professors, the American Historical Association, the Association of American Colleges & Universities, and PEN America.

“These bills risk infringing on the right of faculty to teach and of students to learn,” the statement reads. “The clear goal of these efforts is to suppress teaching and learning about the role of racism in the history of the United States.”