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Elementary school sparks outrage with 'families of color playground night'

Angel, 6, and his mother Angelica Rodriguez walk in a playground in front of their house on Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2020, in Santa Fe, N.M. (AP Photo/Cedar Attanasio)
Angel, 6, and his mother Angelica Rodriguez walk in a playground in front of their house on Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2020, in Santa Fe, N.M. (AP Photo/Cedar Attanasio)
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A Denver-area public school appears to be promoting racially segregated playtime.

Centennial: A School For Expeditionary Learning, part of the Denver Public School system, promoted its "FAMILIES OF COLOR PLAYGROUND NIGHT" on signage in front of the school. The event has been slated to be a monthly occurrence, according to the school’s calendar.

Christopher Rufo, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and contributing editor at City Journal, reported the event was organized by the school’s “Dean of Culture.” He also noted it was later canceled due to COVID protocols, but said the school planned to reschedule the event in the new year.

Centennial told The National Desk in an emailed statement that its faculty met with some of the school's Black families to determine ways they could feel more included.

"Some of these families shared with us that, since the only time many of them see one another is at drop-off and pick-up times, we host some events where Black families can meet one another, connect with one another and share their experiences about the school with one another. We are honoring their request," the school said.

"All families are welcome to attend all of our events, and families from a variety of backgrounds have done so," the statement concluded.

Denver Public Schools told TND it supported Centennial school leaders' decision stemming from "a specific request from families to create a space of belonging."

"Efforts like these are about uniting us, not dividing us," the district concluded in its statement to TND.

Rufo disagrees. “Critical race theory has revived racial segregation in America’s public institutions,” he told The National Desk. “Denver Public Schools’ racially segregated playtime is racism under the guise of ‘equity.’ Denver Public Schools should immediately suspend this program, which violates the Colorado Constitution.”

A Denver University law professor agreed with Rufo, pointing out on social media that Colorado’s constitution — in part — states, “nor shall any distinction or classification of pupils be made on account of race or color.”

Denver Public Schools published a document in September describing its “transition priorities” for the new 2021-22 school year. One of those priorities, labeled as “equity,” is to, “dismantle oppressive systems and structures rooted in racism and classism, and center students and team members with a focus on racial and educational equity.”

Another priority titled “Accelerate Learning by Re-envisioning Education” was described as “providing a culturally and linguistically sustaining education that enables us to re-envision rather than repeat the district's historical inequities to provide an equitable education for ALL of our students.”

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