A bi-racial high school senior, who can pass as white, was allegedly failed by his teacher after he refused to confess his ‘white dominance’ during a class at his Las Vegas charter school.
William Clark received a failing grade in his Sociology of Change class after he refused to categorize and label his racial, religious and sexual identities, according to a press release from Schoolhouserights.org, which supports civil rights litigation in defense of students’ freedom of conscience in public education.
According to a lawsuit filed by his mother, Gabrielle Clark, in December 2020, William is described as having ‘green eyes and blondish hair’ and ‘generally regarded as white by his peers’.
His mother is black and his deceased father was white, according to court documents.
During the class, William was reportedly asked to publicly reveal his race, gender, religious and sexual identities and ‘then attach derogatory labels to those identities’.
A bi-racial high school senior, who can pass as white, was allegedly failed by his teacher after he refused to confess his ‘white dominance’ in class, according to his mother, Gabrielle Clark (pictured)
‘Students were then asked to “undo and unlearn” their “beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors that stem from oppression,”‘ the statement says.
Now, according to his mother, Gabrielle, who sued his school Democracy Preparatory Academy at Agassi Campus in Las Vegas, they’re unsure if he’ll be able to graduate after being handed a failing grade.
The lawsuit targets Democracy Prep for violating their constitutional free speech and due process rights. William and his mother, who is a single parent, says that he was compelled ‘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’.
The lawsuit says that by asking him to reveal his identities, he was coerced ‘to accept and affirm politicized and discriminatory principles and statements that he cannot in conscience affirm’.
When the lawsuit was filed in December 2020, the Clarks, who are being represented by New York-based lawyer Jonathan O’Brien, claimed that William was threatened with ‘material harm including a failing grade and non-graduation if he failed to comply with their requirements’.
The court document says that his school ‘rejected his requests for reasonable accommodation and acted on their threats’.
Another image presented in the suit is one of SpongeBob SquarePants that reads: ‘Reverse racism doesn’t exist’
Students were shown this slide that reads: ‘Racism = Prejudice + Power. Therefore, people of color CANNOT be racist’
William Clark attends school at Democracy Prep (pictured) in Las Vegas
One of the exhibits that the lawsuit includes is a presentation slide that reads: ‘Racism = Prejudice + Power. Therefore, people of color CANNOT be racist.’
Another image presented in the suit is one of SpongeBob SquarePants that reads: ‘Reverse racism doesn’t exist.’
The suit says that the Clarks are seeking ‘monetary damages, including compensatory and punitive damages, for the damage done to William Clark’s future academic and professional prospects, and for the Defendants’ deliberate and protracted harassment, emotional abuse, and violation of Plaintiffs’ Constitutional Rights’.
They also want the court to prevent the school from denying William a high school diploma and accommodate him with ‘an alternative non-discriminatory, non-confessional class’.
Others named in the lawsuit include, the Nevada State Public Charter School Authority, the civics teacher, several school administrators, the school’s board of directors and the school’s Manhattan-based charter management organization, Democracy Prep Public Schools.
Democracy Prep said in a statement that the school could not comment on pending litigation.
However, a spokeswoman said that ‘Democracy Prep stands firmly against racism’.
‘Our curriculum teaches students about American democracy and movements for social change throughout our history. We strongly disagree with how the curriculum has been characterized in this filing.’