A lawsuit has been filed against Minneapolis Public Schools over a stipulation in the teachers union contract that white teachers be laid off before people of color.
The racist provision was inserted into the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers (MFT) contract under the guise of helping to “retain teachers of color” because the district is “lacking in diversity.”
Under the “educators of color protections,” when the school plans to lay off a teacher “who is a member of a population underrepresented among licensed teachers in the site, the District shall excess the next least senior teacher, who is not a member of an underrepresented population.”
The contract, with this rule, was signed in March 2022 to end a 14-day teacher strike. The Minneapolis Board of Education ratified it in May.
A lawsuit over the policy was filed on behalf of taxpayer Deborah Clapp by Judicial Watch on August 23.
Judicial Watch filed the lawsuit against the superintendent of the Minneapolis Public Schools, the Minneapolis Public Schools, and the Minneapolis Board of Education for violating the Equal Protection Guarantee of the Minnesota Constitution.
In a statement about the complaint, Judicial Watch said that, “among other things, the contract provides preferences, protections, and privileges for MPS teachers of certain races and ethnicities under a section entitled ‘ARTICLE 15. PROTECTIONS FOR EDUCATORS OF COLOR.’ There is no similar provision covering educators who are not ‘of color.’”
Minnesota’s Equal Protection Guarantee states that “no member of this state shall be disenfranchised or deprived of any of the rights or privileges secured to any citizen thereof, unless by the law of the land or the judgment of his peers.” The Equal Protection Guarantee is analyzed under the same principles and mandate as the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution.
The lawsuit is asking the court to enter a judgement that will declare that all actions taken to implement the racial and ethnic preference provisions of Article 15 of the contract to be illegal.
Additionally, Clapp and Judicial Watch are asking that the court declare it illegal to use taxpayer dollars to implement these provisions of the contract, and to prohibit the defendants from taking any actions to implement these racial and ethnic provisions.
“It is incredible that in this day and age a school system would engage in blatant racial discrimination in employing teachers,” stated Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “The courts can’t move soon enough to shut down this extreme leftist attack on the bedrock constitutional principle that no one can be denied equal treatment under law on account of race.”
In a statement responding to the lawsuit, the union stood behind the controversial provision.
“The Minneapolis Federation of Teachers and Education Support Professionals continue to fight for policies that retain the skills and experiences that are underrepresented in our union, including the skills and experiences our teachers of color bring to their classrooms every day,” the union wrote. “Although our union has not been sued by Judicial Watch, a far-right organization affiliated with the Koch-funded State Policy Network, we regret to see Minneapolis Public Schools will be forced to divert time and resources away from the real crisis – fully staffing our schools with the teachers and other educators that MPS needs to provide the world-class education our students deserve.”
Last week, the district also defended the rule, telling FOX 9 that the policy is “to remedy the continuing effects of past discrimination” and “aims to support the recruitment and retention of teachers from underrepresented groups.”