Michelle Obama’s brother, sister-in-law sue children’s former school over alleged racial bias
Former first lady Michelle Obama’s brother and sister-in-law are suing their children’s former Milwaukee school over alleged racial bias.
During an interview on “Good Morning America,” Kelly and Craig Robinson said the University School of Milwaukee, which has students from pre-kindergarten through high school, used racial and ethnic stereotypes in their curriculum.
“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,” Craig Robinson said, citing “the use of the word plantation,” “an insensitivity to socio-economic status” and “a disregard for the children who weren’t physically in the classroom.”
He added that they raised the issues to the school, but it “summarily dismissed our young children, retaliating against them because of the issues we brought up.”
“Just as recent as 10 years ago, the University School of Milwaukee had in their fourth grade curriculum that students reenacted 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,” Kelly Robinson said.
She added that “one of the other stories that we heard was about how the Black students seem to get more harsh punishments than their white counterparts.”
The school allegedly set up a bias incident reporting system last year, but when Kelly Robinson attempted to file a report, she was told the system was not functioning properly.
In a letter to the school community on Tuesday, Steve Hancock, the head of school, wrote that the school “cannot comment on the specifics of matters involving threatened or pending litigation.”
“However, 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,” Hancock wrote.
The Robinson’s two young sons now attend a different school.
“We want to hold the University School of Milwaukee accountable not just to our two children who they retaliated against, but more importantly, there’s a whole community of people who are out there that we wouldn’t feel right if this happened moving forward,” Craig Robinson said.
— Updated at 3:19 p.m.
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