Group sues Minneapolis schools over disputed teacher pact

Aug 23, 2022, 4:40 AM | Updated: 4:45 pm

Lindsey West, a fifth-grade teacher at Clara Barton Community School in Minneapolis who identifies ...

Lindsey West, a fifth-grade teacher at Clara Barton Community School in Minneapolis who identifies as Black and Indigenous, poses at her home in suburban Minneapolis on Friday, Aug. 19, 2022. A dispute has arisen over language in the new Minneapolis teachers contract that’s meant to protect teachers of color from layoffs. West said the seniority language is one piece of a bigger mission of improving education. (AP Photo/Steve Karnowski)

(AP Photo/Steve Karnowski)

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A conservative legal group says the latest teacher contract by Minneapolis Public Schools provides discriminatory protections to racial minorities.

A lawsuit filed Monday by Judicial Watch challenges the agreement that ended the three-week teachers strike in March. It includes hiring practices meant to help the district diversify the teaching staff to more closely match the demographics of the students it serves.

The contract language has created an uproar with denunciations of the policy as racist and unconstitutional discrimination against white people.

The complaint calls for a ruling to declare such “racial and ethnic preference” provisions illegal, as well as using taxpayer dollars to implement them, the Star Tribune reported.

Minneapolis is one of many districts across the U.S. struggling with declining teacher headcounts and tight budgets.

The suit names Interim Superintendent Rochelle Cox, the district and the Minneapolis board of education as defendants. Deborah Jane Clapp, identified as a Minneapolis taxpayer, is the plaintiff.

A spokeswoman with the Minneapolis Public Schools said she cannot comment on pending litigation. Lawyers for Clapp declined to make her available for an interview.

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Group sues Minneapolis schools over disputed teacher pact