Ithaca school district apologizes for 'exclusionary language' in promoting students of color summit

The event was initially advertised for non-white students, but is now open to all despite controversy.

Ithaca school district apologizes for 'exclusionary language' in promoting students of color summit
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The Ithaca City School District has issued an apology for using "exclusionary language" when promoting its annual Students of Color Summit. The event, held on Friday at Ithaca High School, was initially advertised as being open only to "students of color in grades 6-12." However, the district later clarified that the summit was open to all secondary students, regardless of race.

In an email to students and staff, the district's communications team wrote, "Please know that SOCU is open to all of our secondary students. We apologize for any previous communication that included exclusionary language about the event," the Daily Wire reports.

The event came under scrutiny a few days prior when the Equal Protection Project, a nonprofit that opposes racial discrimination, sent a letter to the district's superintendent and school board president. The letter expressed deep concern about what appeared to be a racially segregated program and claimed that an email sent by staff members invited only non-white staff to attend the summit alongside students of color.

The Equal Protection Project accused the district of violating the Civil Rights Act, which prohibits racial discrimination by schools receiving federal funds. The group called on the district to publicly denounce past and planned segregationist programs and open the summit to all students and staff, regardless of race.

Despite the controversy, Superintendent Dr. Luvelle Brown defended the event, calling it a "safe space" that students had developed because they wanted others to see what that space looks like. Brown expressed hope that such events would occur every day but acknowledged that they do not due to "supremacy and the lack of people seeing (our) humanity."

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