Former first lady Michelle Obama’s brother and his wife are reportedly suing a private Milwaukee school for expelling their two sons, claiming that the expulsion was conducted as retaliation for their complaints about alleged racial and socioeconomic bias at the school.
Speaking on ABC’s “Good Morning America” this Tuesday, the pair said that the expulsions at the University School of Milwaukee occurred in April 2021 for their 11-year-old son and June 2021 for their 9-year-old son.
The expulsions, they claimed, occurred after they’d complained to school administrators about the lack of a so-called “inclusive” environment.
They “communicated to USM their concerns about USM’s failure to provide the ‘supportive, inclusive’ learning environment that was promised in the enrollment contract, the USM Middle School Handbook, USM’s Common Trust,” the lawsuit reportedly reads.
They also alleged that USM had “acted toward its model students of color with none of the respect, trust, honesty, fairness or even the basic kindness, mandated by the Common Trust.”
“As a lot of parents, we heard what was going on in the classroom because of COVID and there were repeated use of racial and ethnic stereotypes that were in actual assignments,” Obama’s brother, Craig Robinson, told GMA on Tuesday.
“The use of the word plantation and things of that nature. In addition to the racial and ethnic stereotypes, there was an insensitivity to socioeconomic status and as well as a disregard for the children who weren’t physically in the classroom,” he said.
It’s not clear in what context “plantation” was used …
“Just as recent as 10 years ago, the University School of Milwaukee had in their fourth-grade curriculum that students re-enacted the Underground Railroad, and students dressed up as slaves and ran through the school in the dark, and the teachers were actually the slave masters who captured these students,” Robinson’s wife, Kelly, said.
The Robinsons reportedly enrolled their two sons at USM in 2016.
“One of the other stories that we heard was about how the black students seem to get more harsh punishments than their white counterparts,” Kelly also claimed.
The pair also “recalled a time when their students were denied the chance to test out of a math class, but only white students were able to take the exam,” according to GMA.
It’s not clear if perhaps the “white students” had simply been the only ones who’d met the prerequisites for taking the exam.
The two first started complaining during the 2020-2021 school year, when they “communicated directly with USM faculty and staff about the inclusion of language in various worksheets and projects that was offensive to persons of color, persons with disabilities, indigenous Americans and other underrepresented students,” according to their lawsuit.
Kelly, meanwhile, reportedly submitted two “bias incident reports” in January and March of 2021, respectively.
“The first bias that we noticed I did put a report in and was told that the reporting system was not working. The head of school told me that this was not a bias,” she told “Good Morning America.”
It’s not clear if perhaps the reporting system had simply malfunctioned.
“Each other time following when any bias was reported, instead of acknowledging and working to make it better, they ended up dismissing our students,” she added.
It’s not clear if perhaps the school had stopped taking the pair seriously after concluding that their bias complaints weren’t legitimate. And critics appear to suspect this is indeed the case and that the pair are simply engaging in Michelle Obama-like racial grievance mongering.
Look (*Language warning):
I’m calling BS on this.
— Steve Turner (@gobstobber) April 19, 2022
What a joke. “the use of the word plantation”…”other stories we heard” 🤣
— SCanary (@sb_canary) April 19, 2022
Sorry your kid didn’t get special treatment for being an extra special boy… So pathetic…
— Sarcast1c Kam1kaze 000 (@bmw35678) April 19, 2022
Kids are likely brats and parents upset the school, and reality, doesn’t see them as the gifted students they are
— Don Brooks (@DonBrooks2022) April 19, 2022
The Underground railroad helped slaves, yet he claims it is a stereotype. Sounds like he is not very bright but feels entitled.
— Rob W (@RobW61724772) April 20, 2022
So most of their complaint is based on conjecture from other people who had told them about previous things at the school from earlier decades. The most heinous thing their children endured is hearing the word ‘plantation’.. FFS.
— B_T_C 🚀 🗣 (@bozotheclone) April 19, 2022
Cry me a river-history is history-good&https://t.co/45qInSd63V PRETEND things didn’t happen isn’t right-you can’t erase is-just move forward, every culture suffered! Learn about it-MOVE ON!Sick of you guys CHURNING the pot at EVERY opportunity. Sick of your POOR ME – GET OVER IT!
— Martin (@Martin12315341) April 19, 2022
As for the official reason for their children’s expulsion, the school reportedly wrote in a letter that the Robinsons had “repeatedly engaged in disrespectful and demanding communications with and about our teachers and administrators” and had thus “not fulfilled the foregoing commitments as a partner to USM and its Middle School teachers and administrators.”
Questioned by GMA about these allegations, USM head Steve Hancock said the school hasn’t been served the lawsuit yet.
“Because our school has not been served with a complaint and not had time to review the allegations, we are not in [a] position to comment on this pending legal matter at this time,” he said.
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