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Nevada student sues high school for 'coercive ideological indoctrination' of woke curriculum

Students were told that refusing to identify with an oppressed group was a sign of privilege and an indication of being an oppressor, according to the lawsuit.

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Reno, Nevada
Reno, Nevada
(Greg Chapel / EyeEm
Updated: December 28, 2020 - 11:29am

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A high school senior in Nevada is suing his charter school over what he calls the "coercive ideological indoctrination" imposed by the school's Critical Race Theory-based curriculum. 

The student, who is mixed-race, contends that the curriculum forces students at the taxpayer-funded school to connect elements of their identities with oppression.

The lawsuit, which was filed last week in a Nevada federal court, claims that the student (as well as his mother's) First and Fourteenth Amendment rights were violated when students were told that refusing to identify with an oppressed group was a sign of privilege and an indication of being an oppressor.

The student's mother, Gabrielle Clark, who is black, claims her son was subjected to a hostile classroom environment at Democracy Prep. She alleges that her child faced discrimination during the school's year-long, mandatory course "Sociology of Change." 

Clark claims that she and other parents were unaware of the school's sharp pivot toward a curriculum of "coercive, ideological indoctrination." The school's curriculum had evidently been altered in recent years, but classes kept the same names, meaning some parents were unaware of the substantive change to their children's education until "they began seeing the detrimental effects it worked upon their children," reads the suit.

The new curriculum "inserted consciousness raising and conditioning exercises under the banner of 'Intersectionality' and 'Critical Race Theory,'" according to the lawsuit. "These sessions … are not descriptive or informational in nature, but normative and prescriptive: they require pupils to 'unlearn' and 'fight back' against 'oppressive' structures allegedly implicit in their family arrangements, religious beliefs and practices, racial, sexual, and gender identities, all of which they are required to divulge and subject to non-private interrogation."

Clark's son was reportedly instructed at school to "unlearn" the "basic Judeo-Christian principles [his mother] imparted to him, and then [the school] retaliated against [him]."

As part of school assignments, students were required to reveal "racial, sexual, gender, sexual orientation, disabilities and religious identities." Students were also routinely referred to by their instructors as "social justice warriors." 

The suit claims that the student is being forced by his school "to make professions about his racial, sexual, gender and religious identities in verbal class exercises and in graded, written homework assignments which were subject to the scrutiny, interrogation and derogatory labeling of students, teachers and school administrators," in addition to being coerced to accept and affirm discriminatory claims with which he does not agree. 

The legal complaint claims the student was regularly threatened "with material harm including a failing grade and non-graduation if he failed to comply with their requirements."