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A School District Mandated Students, Staff to Participate in ‘Equity Summits’

Richard Alan Hannon/The Advocate via AP

Parental rights organization Parents Defending Education continues  to expose school districts across the country for policies and curriculum meant to indoctrinate students. This ranges from curriculum on Critical Race Theory (CRT) to keeping parents in the dark about their children’s names and pronouns at school.

In some cases, PDE has unveiled how school districts have forced students to participate in programming about topics like “white privilege” and “equity.” In some cases, these programs occur unbeknownst to parents. 

Through a public records request, PDE obtained documents and emails showing that Niles Township High Schools District 219 in Illinois held “Unity Summits” for students and staff to promote equity. These summits were mandatory.

According to the documents obtained by PDE, these summits were spearheaded by the district’s chief equity officer, La Wanna Wells (via PDE):

In an email of frequently asked questions about the events, she stated that the Unity Summits were mandatory for students: “It is the first time where all students will come together to learn about equity collectively at each D219 school.” The summits were for “all students to increase their Awareness, Empathy, and feelings of Solidarity for themselves and others.” She added that the events would occur on attendance days for students.

School staff were also required to participate: “Every staff member is expected to assist with the Unity Summit as a Presenter and with other assigned duties.” Students were additionally required to “attend a Keynote that teaches students how to apply equity.”

The first Unity Summit occurred April 17 at Niles North High School. The second summit took place on May 1 at Niles West High School. 

According to PDE, students were required to participate in four workshops. One workshop was required by the school, while the students got to select the other three. A document used to create the basis of the Unity Summits said that students should “develop language and historical and cultural knowledge that affirms and accurately describes their membership in multiple identity groups” and to push for “social justice.”

"Two thirds of students in Illinois are still reading below grade level and only a quarter are proficient in math, so the fact that this school district is wasting time on a useless ‘equity’ summit is beyond the pale,” Michele Exner, senior advisor for PDE, told Townhall.

“The state is spending $24,000 per pupil in the public education system and they are still failing to teach kids the basics, but it shouldn't be surprising considering these DEI warriors insist on wasting school time and resources on pushing racially charged material in classrooms instead of academics,” she added.

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