Elementary School Forms Lunch Group Banning White Children

An elementary school in Olympia, Washington has created a student group that excludes white children.

  • Centennial Elementary School in Olympia, Washington has formed a “safe space” race-based club primarily for students of color.
  • An email was recently sent by school officials to parents describing the club as a “BIPOC student group” that is “limited to students who identify as BIPOC.” BIPOC stands for “Black, Indigenous, and People of Color.”
  • “For these students, this space allows them to hang out, check in and possibly talk about their experiences as a student in the minority as they build community, connections and confidence,” the email reads.
  • Parents from the school were outraged by the news, saying the move is promoting “segregation” at the schools.
  • “My son came home and said that they came into the classes, and they were promoting this and talked it up to the students, but then he found out that since he was white, he wasn’t able to participate,” parent Jessica Juergens told KOMO News. “They have their friends that they want to play with at lunch, and a fourth or fifth grader can’t understand why they can’t play with their friends.”

“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 said.

  • In October 2021, a national parents’ group filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against a public school district in Massachusetts for allegedly violating the constitution by segregating students into “affinity groups” based on their race.
  • According to the school, the racial affinity group was “an opportunity for people within an identity group to openly share their experiences without the risk of feeling like they will offend someone from another group, and without another group’s voices.”
  • Nearly 70 years ago, the Supreme Court ruled that “public schools cannot segregate students by race, and students do not abandon their First Amendment rights at the schoolhouse gate,” the parents argued.
  • “It is appalling that an American public school has consciously implemented a policy to segregate students based on race and ethnicity. Excluding children from activities based on immutable characteristics is not only immoral, but unconstitutional—and must be ended immediately—both in Wellesley and everywhere else this practice exists,” Parents Defending Education (PDE) President Nicole Neily said at the time.