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Parents unite against discriminatory public-school policies in Virginia

ADF attorneys representing parents, students sue Albemarle County School Board for discriminating against students based on race, religion

Wednesday, Dec 22, 2021

ASHBURN, Va. – Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys representing a religiously and ethnically diverse group of nine parents and their children are suing the Albemarle County School Board for enacting discriminatory policies and indoctrinating students in radical ideology. ADF attorneys filed the lawsuit, C.I. v. Albemarle County School Board, Wednesday in the Albemarle County Circuit Court.

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. The school district goes so far as to declare that every core subject will include teaching about racial stereotyping and disparate treatment based on race and religion. It then squelches debate on the issue by mislabeling any opinion not aligned with its indoctrination as “racist” and threatens to punish dissent based on its redefinition of “racism.”

In the lawsuit, the parents and students ask the court to halt the school board’s enforcement of its policy, which...

  • violates and interferes with parents’ fundamental right to direct the upbringing and education of their children;
  • violates their free speech and religious freedom rights by compelling students to affirm and communicate messages that conflict with their beliefs while silencing dissenting viewpoints; and
  • violates their equal protection rights.

“Schools exist to educate, not indoctrinate children. Every parent has the right to protect their children against a school district that uses their authority to indoctrinate students in harmful ideologies,” said ADF Senior Counsel Kate Anderson, director of ADF’s Center for Parental Rights. “Our clients believe that every person is made in the image of God, deserves respect, and therefore, should not be punished or rewarded for something over which they have no control. Public schools have no right to demean students because of their race, ethnicity, or religion.”

“The question in this case is not whether racism still exists; it does. Nor is the question whether racism must be vanquished; it must,” the lawsuit states. “Rather, the question is whether [Albemarle County School Board] may use unconstitutional means to indoctrinate students with an ideology that teaches children to affirmatively discriminate based on race. The Virginia Constitution answers with a resounding ‘no.’”

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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