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Michelle Obama’s brother, Craig Robinson, and his wife Kelly have sued a prominent Milwaukee school for expelling their two children. The Robinson family allege the school retaliated against the couple for stating concerns about racial bias in the school.
In particular, the Robinsons believe that the virtual teaching environment in 2021 included racial and ethnic stereotypes in books and assignments. Additionally, the classrooms allegedly weren’t inclusive for students of Color, as well as students with disabilities.
The Robinson’s sons, ages 11 and 9, left the Milwaukee school following the parents’ concerns which they raised to administrators. The family alleged that both children were excellent students, in fact, “model, high-achieving students.”
Despite the allegations of racial bias, the Milwaukee school lawsuit is about the way the family was treated. According to Kelly Robinson, “It’s the way that they dealt with it and the fact that they didn’t want to confront the actual issue and instead retaliated against us and our children.”
Craig Robinson not backing down from Milwaukee school
The Robinson’s attorney, Kim Motley, wrote in the filing, “The School acted impermissibly to silence and to retaliate against those adversely affected by, and raising concerns about, the School’s unfair treatment of students of color and underrepresented students.”
The school, a well-known educational institution called the University School of Milwaukee (USM), denied the claims. In a statement to the school community, administrators noted, “We cannot and will not tolerate persistently disrespectful, bullying, or harassing behavior directed at our devoted and hardworking teachers and administrators… When such parental conduct threatens the educational environment we have created, we have no choice but to take action.”
The Robinsons allege that their sons were expelled after Kelly Robinson filed a complaint with the school about racial bias. When the school ignored Ms. Robinson’s concerns, she filed a second report, several months later.
The Robinson family requested a trial by jury along with compensation for damages. The family alleged that other families also felt concerns about USM’s handling of diversity in school.
According to Kelly Robinson, “I’ve also heard from many people who won’t be in public because they’re afraid of retaliation. This is why we brought this forward as Craig said. This wasn’t just about us, this was about all of these other people who have also been through this.”