Rantz: Elementary school bans white students from ‘safe space’ club

Feb 5, 2023, 6:00 PM | Updated: Feb 7, 2023, 10:52 am
elementary school club...
Centennial Elementary in Olympia established a 5th-grade BIPOC (“Black, Indigenous, People of Color”) student group that the principal says excludes white students, according to a screenshot of an email shared with the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH. (Olympia School District)
(Olympia School District)

A local elementary school has a student club that excludes students based on their race, according to a parent.

Centennial Elementary in Olympia established a 5th-grade BIPOC (“Black, Indigenous, People of Color”) student group that the principal says excludes white students, according to a screenshot of an email shared with the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH. The email, which the district has confirmed is real, shows principal Shannon Ritter admitting the “group is limited to students who identify as BIPOC.” The club meets once a week during their lunch period, and the school is reportedly in the early stages for an additional “BIPOC-only” student group for 4th graders.

Ritter also explains that “this space allows them [BIPOC students] to hang out, check in and possibly talk about their experiences as a student in the minority as they build community, connections and confidence. It is primarily a safe space for them.” A group for so-called allies may be established, as well.

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Why can’t the Left acknowledge discrimination is wrong?

An email from Centennial Elementary School Principal Shannon Ritter (Courtesy of The Jason Rantz Show)

While “affinity groups” have been established at schools nationwide at the behest of the equity movement, they’re usually described in ways that make it clear white people aren’t wanted without expressly telling them they can’t join. That would be illegal discrimination. But in 2023, discrimination is hip in left-wing circles.

A spokesperson for the Office of Superintendent of Public Instruction says the state does not provide districts guidance on affinity groups. But attorney Mark Lamb of Carney Badley Spellman, P.S. says this discrimination is legally questionable. He cites Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It prohibits discrimination based on race, color, or national origin. He also notes that the district’s anti-discrimination policy bars discrimination based on race, color, or national origin “for all students in all aspects of the academic and activities program.”

“The fact that this is occurring in an elementary school makes it even more problematic from a legal perspective. The age of the students, coupled with the principal’s email re: this ‘club’, makes it apparent that this is not a primarily student-led decision but rather one being generated and defended by the school itself,” Lamb noted to the Jason Rantz Show. “She describes it as being in the ‘early planning stages’ which does not suggest 9-10 year olds are driving the program. The school district is committing in writing to enforce a race-based exclusion. No promise of a potentially forthcoming ‘ally’ club can justify this.”

A spokesperson for the Office of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction explained to the Jason Rantz Show on KTTH that if a student is being discriminated against, they “could file a complaint and we would be likely to provide technical assistance to the school to clarify that they should not exclude students who wish to participate.”

A spokesperson for the Olympia School District said she’s been working on a statement for days but has yet to provide one. But she did confirm the authenticity of the email, which was first posted on Facebook by State Rep. Jim Walsh (R-Aberdeen).

Needlessly divisive

Before the Radical Left normalized anti-white racism, the societal expectation was that no one be discriminated against based on race, ethnicity or skin color. But in a post-Black Lives Matter world, all white people are deemed oppressors. Since progressives believe all whites have privileges due to systemic racism, it’s okay to discriminate against them. It’s a form of karmic retribution to them. But in addition to being illegal, it’s dangerous and divisive.

Ritter explained in the email that she wanted to set up a group for student allies because some students had asked. That should have been the clue to Ritter that she shouldn’t be kicking white students out of the BIPOC student group. Isn’t the point to create harmony amongst children regardless of their race?

The very nature of these groups tells “BIPOC” kids that their white classmates can’t be trusted and aren’t worth feeling comfortable around. It’s also telling white students that “BIPOC” kids are so different than they are, that they should be segregated to another part of the school. How does this create healthy relationships?

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UPDATE February 7, 2023:

The school district finally released a statement. They are acknowledging they cannot segregate clubs by race, vowing to address the illegal practice. But they defend the divisive club as necessary, claiming 5th graders lead discussions on racial identity. 

Listen to the Jason Rantz Show on weekday afternoons from 3:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m. on KTTH 770 AM (HD Radio 97.3 FM HD-Channel 3). Subscribe to the podcast. Follow @JasonRantz on TwitterInstagram, and Facebook. Check back frequently for more news and analysis.

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Rantz: Elementary school bans white students from ‘safe space’ club