Denver elementary school under fire for 'families of color playground night'

The event violates Colorado's constitution banning race discrimination, critics charge.

Updated: December 14, 2021 - 8:00pm

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Centennial Elementary School near Denver, Colorado, is under fire after planning a "families of color playground night." 

The event is on the school's calendar for the second Wednesday of each month, and was promoted on the Centennial - A School for Expeditionary Learning Facebook page.

Writer and filmmaker Christopher Rufo tweeted a photo of the sign, with the caption "Denver Public Schools now promoting racially-segregated playtime—for 'equity.'"

Denver University Law Professor Dave Kopel said the event violates Colorado's state Constitution which states "nor shall any distinction or classification of pupils be made on account of race or color."

Denver Public Schools Media Relations Manager Scott Pribble defended the school's segregated playtime in an email obtained by Rufo. He said the event was created in response to requests from families. "We are here to meet the needs of all of our families and students. The school leaders at Centennial received a specific request from families to create a space of belonging."

"We support efforts like this as they provide connections, support and inspiration for families which share similar experiences and come from similar backgrounds," he wrote. "Efforts like this are about uniting, not dividing us."

Similar events have occurred across the country. A lawsuit was filed in October after a Massachusetts public school allegedly segregated students by race and threatened to punish them for "biased" statements.