Judge dismisses complaint against racially discriminatory MPS teachers union contract

The agreement, approved by the Minneapolis Board of Education last May, specifically noted that the policy tries to rectify "past discrimination" that "resulted in a lack of diversity of teachers."

Minneapolis teachers picket outside Minneapolis Public Schools headquarters in March. (Shutterstock)

A district court judge has dismissed a lawsuit against Minneapolis Public Schools over its teachers contract that prioritizes laying off white teachers.

On Monday Hennepin County Judge Christian Sande granted a motion to dismiss the complaint brought by Deborah Jane Clapp against the school district, the interim superintendent, and the Minneapolis Board of Education.

The judge argued that Clapp’s lawsuit, which claimed that an article in the teachers contract violated the Minnesota Constitution’s Equal Protection Guarantee, lacked standing.

“Because Clapp is bringing a claim based on taxpayer standing, she is alleging financial injury as a taxpayer,” Sande wrote. “Particularly, in a case such as this (where Clapp bases her taxpayer standing on allegations of illegal disbursements of public funds), the injury must take the form of diminished public funds as a result of illegal disbursements.”

“Clapp has not alleged a direct or imminent injury of this kind,” the judge added.

The contract was agreed to last March by Minneapolis Public Schools and the Minneapolis Federation of Teachers following a 14-day teacher strike. One of its proposals stated that teachers from “underrepresented populations” could be “exempted from district-wide layoff[s] outside seniority order” and prioritized their reinstatement over white teachers in the event of layoffs.

The agreement, approved by the Minneapolis Board of Education last May, specifically noted that the policy tries to rectify “past discrimination” that “resulted in a lack of diversity of teachers.”

Despite the lawsuit’s claim that such provisions demonstrated “racial and ethnic preference,” Judge Sande argued it was “not clear that consideration of a teacher’s membership within an underrepresented group necessarily requires consideration of race and ethnicity.”

Judicial Watch, the group that filed the lawsuit on behalf of Clapp, told Alpha News it will analyze the decision and then decide on whether or not to appeal the ruling.

“Frankly, I didn’t understand it,” said Judicial Watch president Tom Fitton. “We don’t think the decision is a good one, but we’ll see what happens in terms of an appeal.”


Evan Stambaugh

Evan Stambaugh is a freelance writer who had previously been a sports blogger. He has a BA in theology and an MA in philosophy.