The brother of former first lady Michelle Obama has filed a lawsuit against the University School of Milwaukee charging that his children were wrongly disenrolled after he complained of the school’s racist practices.
Craig Robinson and his wife Kelly have filed a civil lawsuit against USM in suburban Milwaukee, accusing the school of rampant racism against their 11- and 9-year-old sons, as well as other students of color for years. When the Robinsons raised questions regarding how his kids were being treated, he states his children were barred from enrolling in the new year.
“We feel like they were retaliated against because we brought up some issues that were sensitive to the administration,” Robinson told CNN.
“The first thing we noticed was a repeated use of racial and ethnic stereotypes in actual classroom assignments,” wife Kelly Robinson added. “It’s the way that they dealt with it and the fact that they didn’t want to confront the actual issue and instead retaliated against us and our children.”
The lawsuit contends that “the school acted impermissibly to silence and to retaliate against those adversely affected by, and raising concerns about, the school’s unfair treatment of students of color and underrepresented students.”
USM retaliated with strong language in a statement against the Robinsons, accusing them of bullying their administration and teachers.
“We can tell you that USM’s enrollment decisions had nothing to do with complaints of inequity or discrimination and we intend to vigorously defend the school against any claim to the contrary,” reads the statement obtained by CNN.
“We cannot and will not tolerate persistently disrespectful, bullying, or harassing behavior directed at our devoted and hardworking teachers and administrators,” the statement continued.
As an example of the racist practices at USM, the Robinsons also said in their lawsuit that fourth-graders were required to reenact the Underground Railroad where students had to run and hide while the faculty acted like “slave catchers.” They’ve since abandoned the practice.
“USM teachers told fourth grade students to wear old clothing or purchase used clothing from thrift stores. USM faculty acted as ‘slave catchers’ and were told to try to catch the students,” part of the lawsuit read. “During the simulation, students were to navigate through dark hallways and classrooms, while USM staff played sounds evoking whips, chains, and horses galloping to make the experience more vivid and intense.”