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C.I. v. Albemarle County School Board

Description: A group of diverse parents and their children are suing the Albemarle County School Board for enacting discriminatory policies and indoctrinating students in radical ideology. In 2019, the school board enacted a policy that violates students’ civil rights by treating them differently based on race, and by compelling them to affirm and support ideas contrary to their deeply held moral, philosophical, and religious beliefs.

Students in a classroom
Wednesday, Jun 29, 2022

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys representing a diverse group of parents and their children in a lawsuit against the Albemarle County School Board appealed to the Virginia Court of Appeals Monday after a lower court dismissed their case.

In the lawsuit, C.I. v. Albemarle County School Board, the parents are challenging the school board’s enforcement of a discriminatory policy that indoctrinates students in racially divisive ideology.

“Parents’ fundamental right to direct their children’s education must include the right to protect their children from radical policies that sow racial division among students,” said ADF Senior Counsel Ryan Bangert. “Public schools can’t demean or divide students based on their race, religion, or ethnicity, but that is exactly what Albemarle County Public Schools is doing. We urge the court to take a hard look at the school district’s discriminatory policy and consider these families’ challenge to it.”

In 2019, the school board enacted a policy that requires schools to take actions based in critical race theory, a radical ideology that forces students and teachers to view everything and everybody through the lens of race. The policy violates students’ civil rights by treating them differently based on race and by compelling them to affirm and support ideas contrary to their deeply held moral and religious beliefs.

The school district has even declared that every core subject—from social studies to math and literature—must include teaching through its new ideological lens that emphasizes racial and religious stereotypes. It then squelches debate on the issue by stamping any opinion not aligned with its radical ideology as “racist” and threatens to punish dissent based on its redefinition of “racism.”

Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization committed to protecting religious freedom, free speech, parental rights, and the sanctity of life.

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Featured Coverage

  • Leif Le Mahieu: ‘Focus on their skin color’: Parent speaks out against school’s ‘racist’ curriculum (Daily Wire, 2022-04-28)
  • Mary Margaret Olohan: Parents accuse Virginia school district of teaching students to ‘discriminate based on race’ (Daily Signal, 2021-12-22)


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ABOUT Ryan Bangert

Ryan Bangert serves as senior counsel and vice president for legal strategy at Alliance Defending Freedom. He oversees the Center for Academic Freedom, the Center for Conscience Initiatives, and the regulatory litigation team, and assists ADF leadership with strategic initiatives. Before joining ADF, Bangert served as Deputy for Legal Counsel and Deputy First Assistant Attorney General in the Office of the Texas Attorney General. In those roles, he oversaw the State’s Special Litigation Unit, which handled critical litigation against the federal government, and oversaw multiple divisions within the office, including the General Counsel Division and the Opinion Committee. Bangert also served as Deputy for Civil Litigation for Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, overseeing the state’s civil litigation portfolio and over 200 attorneys and staff. Prior to his government service, Bangert was a litigation partner at Baker Botts L.L.P., where he was a volunteer attorney for ADF and served as amicus counsel in numerous cases. Bangert earned his B.A. from Oral Roberts University, and his J.D. from Southern Methodist University, where he graduated first in his class. He participated in the Blackstone Legal Fellowship program in 2002. Following law school, he clerked for Judge Patrick Higginbotham on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit. Bangert is an active member of the Texas Bar and is admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court and various federal trial courts and courts of appeal.