The Santa Cruz County Office of Education and Pajaro Valley Unified School District are alleged to have hosted a racially segregated teacher program, the Washington Examiner reported.
In a complaint filed to the Department of Education on Tuesday, Parents Defending Education argues that the entities violated civil rights law when they worked to establish the "Ethnic Studies Teacher of Color Circle" in September.
According to the Examiner, the support program was developed in conjunction with Community Responsive Education, a group seeking "to support the growth, retention, and leadership of teachers of color in the country."
On its website, the consultancy company lists "community responsive teacher development, ethnic studies teacher and curriculum development, and equity audits and systems change strategic planning and coaching" as examples of services offered.
"As the Department of Education is no doubt aware, segregation on the basis of race raises concerns that Santa Cruz County Office of Education and Pajaro Valley School District has received federal funds in violation of Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964," the complaint read.
Caroline Moore, vice president of Parents Defending Education, told the outlet that the PVUSD program served as a way for Santa Cruz County's education office to penalize teachers for factors beyond their control.
"Through its use of affinity groups, Santa Cruz is creating an environment in which educators are ostracized for not identifying as teachers of color and are penalized for something they cannot change," Moore stated.
"Teachers who do not identify as a different ethnicity are held back from opportunities that would give them face time with administrators, relationships which are critical to help educators obtain better jobs in the district," she added.
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