Father Sues Brentwood School, Alleges Curriculum Became Divisive After George Floyd Murder
The school's new ideology views all relationships "through a conflict theory lens of racial hierarchy"
June 17, 2022
6.10.22: The father of a Brentwood School student has sued the institution, alleging that the curriculum became "racially divisive" after the 2020 death of George Floyd and the climate turned hostile toward Jewish people.
In a Santa Monica Superior Court lawsuit, filed this week, Jerome Eisenberg alleges the private, K-12 school and its Headmaster Michael Riera committed "civil rights violations, breach of contract and caused both intentional and negative infliction of emotional distress." The suit seeks unspecified compensatory and punitive damages.
A Brentwood School representative issued a statement regarding the suit.
"The allegations contained in the complaint are baseless, a work of whole fiction and nothing more than a desperate attempt to embarrass the school," the statement read. "The plaintiff's arguments are unsupported by actual facts and we look forward to proving that in court."
According to the suit, the school's new ideology viewed all relationships "through a conflict theory lens of racial hierarchy" in which Jewish people are treated as oppressors due to their "proximity to whiteness," while the actual treatment of Jews throughout history is ignored. The suit also claims "racially divisive" books became favored over the works of literary giants.
When Eisenberg asked Riera why such radical changes in the curriculum were being implemented without notice or parental consent, Riera said that the school was comprised of educators who knew what the students needed to learn and that the parents' ideas were outdated, according to the suit.
Eisenberg enrolled his daughter, identified in the complaint only as J.E., in the Brentwood School believing she would receive a traditional education that reflected the Western values, the suit states. But parents like Eisenberg "eventually discovered defendants' scheme to transform the school under a racially divisive, anti-Semitic ideology that seeks to indoctrinate children to reject Western values," according to the suit.
When Eisenberg complained about the school's alleged discriminatory practices, Riera threatened to kick J.E. out of the school immediately unless her father "kept his mouth shut," the suit alleges.
Riera intentionally prevented Eisenberg and the other Jewish parents from forming an affinity group because he did not want Jewish members of the community to have any say in the new policies, Eisenberg alleges.
During J.E.'s first year at Brentwood School in the seventh grade, the institution delivered on its promise of a non-discriminatory, traditional secular curriculum but everything "radically changed" after the May 2020 death of George Floyd, according to the suit.
'That summer, Brentwood School relinquished control of its curriculum and community policies to its Office of Equity and Inclusion, a relatively new administrative arm in which all of existence is reviewed through a racial lens," the suit states.
The school's focus shifted away from giving students a classically liberal education and towards a forced re-education that rejects enlightenment values in favor of an identity-based ideology of grievance, resentment and racial divisiveness, the suit states.
In J.E.'s eighth grade literature class, universally renowned classics like "To Kill a Mockingbird" and "Lord of the Flies" were "jettisoned" and replaced with such works as Ibram X. Kendi's "Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America," which gave students a historical, racially inflammatory perspective on U.S. history "with no legitimate pedagogical purpose," according to the suit.
Students were forced to study charts on "becoming anti-racist" that made bigoted assumptions about them and required them to engage in political activism based on those assumptions, according to the suit.
Although J.E. was allowed to finish the eighth grade at Brentwood, Riera revoked the school's offer to return for ninth grade, the suit states. Her father believes Riera's decision was tied to his complaints about the school's allegedly discriminatory policies, the suit states.