Updated: Jul 15
Evanston/Skokie School District 65 Superintendent Devon Horton and the school board respond to the recent lawsuit filed by drama teacher Stacy Deemar and the Southeast Legal Foundation against the District’s focus on antiracism.
Since the lawsuit became public, Dr. Horton has received threatening voice messages that include racial slurs and his car has been vandalized.
D65 Statement of Commitment
Dear District 65 Community -
Evanston/Skokie 65 is a diverse school district that is committed to equity and to ensuring that every child gets what they need and deserve to reach their full potential. In District 65, data has demonstrated that there are racially predictable gaps in opportunities for student learning. It is our responsibility to meet every child where they are and to ensure growth. This requires us to be bold in identifying and eliminating practices, policies and barriers that perpetuate institutional racism and cultural biases.
Last week, our District was named in a lawsuit that is part of a concerted national effort by the Georgia-based Southeastern Legal Foundation to target racial equity-based initiatives in K-12 schools.
The District will continue to fulfill the intent and promise of equal protection and nondiscrimination embodied in the Constitution and our nation’s civil rights laws.
Unfortunately, this lawsuit subverts these laws and values by taking out of context and misrepresenting our District’s lawful, sensitive and responsible professional learning and student-focused initiatives to advance the important work of building equity in our schools.
We plan to vigorously defend against this baseless and inflammatory lawsuit, while not letting it distract us from the important work we are doing as a District community.
Surrounding the polarizing media coverage of the lawsuit and its characterization of our District, Superintendent Horton received two voice messages containing racial slurs and threats of bodily harm and his car window was broken while parked in a District lot by what appeared to be an intentional act of vandalism.
We have reported these incidents to the Evanston Police Department and are cooperating in their ongoing investigation of these hateful actions.
District leaders are also carefully reviewing our practices, policies and procedures to ensure the ongoing safety and well-being of our schools, educators/staff and students. This will remain a top priority as we prepare for a return to school later this summer.
The Board of Education and administration of District 65 remain committed to acknowledging and intentionally addressing racial and cultural biases, structures and practices that adversely affect student learning and achievement in a safe and inclusive environment for all.
Our families, educators/staff and community are valued partners in this work, and we appreciate your continued support of our schools and students.
Dr. Devon Horton, Superintendent
Board of Education
Anya Tanyavutti, President Elisabeth “Biz” Lindsay-Ryan, Vice President Joseph Hailpern Sergio Hernandez Jr. Soo La Kim Donna Wang Su Marquise Weatherspoon