A white teacher in Evanston/Skokie School District 65 is suing the district, claiming some of the district’s programs and curriculum components illegally discriminate based on race.

Stacy Deemar, a drama teacher in the district for nearly 20 years, filed the complaint Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Chicago. The lawsuit says District 65 policies and programs violate both the U.S. Constitution and the federal Civil Rights Act.

Among many allegations, the suit says that District 65 teaches children that their whole identity comes from the color of their skin, and that “whiteness” is a tool of oppression.

The District teaches students “to hate each other,” the lawsuit states. “They teach them not only how to be racist, but that they should be racist. And the District does this by treating people differently because of their race.”

The attorneys filing the case for Deemar are from the Southeastern Legal Foundation, a conservative organization whose website describes the group as committed to “defending liberty and Rebuilding the American Republic.”

A foundation news release states “District 65 is ground zero” for a race-based program which “unconstitutionally and illegally discriminates against individuals because of their skin color.”

The suit says that teachers were forced to undergo “anti-racist” training, where they had to acknowledge, among other things that “‘White identity is inherently racist[.],'” and accept that “white individuals are ‘loud, authoritative … [and] controlling.'”

The complaint also alleges that teachers were put into racially segregated “affinity groups” for training, and also had to take “privilege walks” based on race.

“If teachers oppose, question, or ‘disengage'” from the training philosophy, the suit states that “District 65 blatantly calls them ‘racist.'”

“Once District 65 indoctrinated its teachers with these divisive, hateful, and racist lessons,” says a news release from the Legal Foundation, “it moved on to the students.”

For example, the lawsuit contains an image from an elementary school lesson, which had a contract binding the signer to “whiteness.”

“Whiteness,” the school material said, gets you stolen land, stolen riches, special favors, and the ability to “mess with the lives of your friends, neighbors, loved ones, and all fellow human beings of COLOR.”

The lawsuit asks for $1.00 in damages, but also asks the Court to end District 65’s alleged discriminatory policies and also impose steps to remedy the effect of those policies.


Update 9:45 a.m. 6/30/21: District 65 spokesperson Melissa Messinger tells Evanston Now that while the District has been made aware of the suit, the district has not been served with the complaint and has not evaluated its claims with the Board of Education and legal counsel, and makes no comment concerning the lawsuit at this time.


Update 7:30 p.m. 6/30/21: This is not the first time Stacy Deemar has taken on the district where she works.

Documents released by her law firm, the Southeastern Legal Foundation, show that in 2019, Deemar filed a civil rights complaint with the U.S Department of Education, with some of the same allegations contained in her current litigation.

The Education Department agreed that District 65 violated federal civil rights laws, concluding that “the District engaged in intentional race dissemination” via affinity group activities segregated by race, as well as with “privilege activities,” and by having a discipline policy which included consideration of a student’s race.

The Legal Foundation says those findings were reached in January, while Donald Trump was still president. But before any changes could be implemented at District 65, the Foundation says the case was withdrawn by the Biden administration after it took office.

Jeff Hirsh joined the Evanston Now reporting team in 2020 after a 40-year award-winning career as a broadcast journalist in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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