Colorado GOP Senate Candidate: Bennet Should ‘Condemn Segregation at Denver Public Schools Immediately’

Students entering the premises of a segregated school during the desegregation busing crisis in Boston, circa 1974. (Photo by Ellis Herwig/Pictorial Parade/Archive Photos/Getty Images)
Ellis Herwig/Pictorial Parade/Archive Photos/Getty Images

Republican Senate Candidate Gino Campana released a statement demanding that his competitor, sitting U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO), denounce the actions of Denver Public Schools following reports of events condoning playground segregation.

Critical Race Theory investigator and senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute Christopher Rufo first reported Tuesday that Centennial Elementary in the Denver Public School System has been holding a “Families of Color Playground Night” to foster a “culture of inclusion and belonging.”

In a Twitter thread, Rufo fleshed out the details of the monthly school activity, calling it a “form of state-sanctioned racial discrimination.” Rufo added that the event was organized by the school’s “Dean of Culture” Nicole Tembrock, and was reportedly canceled due to coronavirus protocols. The event is expected to be rescheduled in the new year.

University of Denver law professor Dave Kopel responded to Rufo’s thread, saying the event is illegal under the Colorado Constitution.

“In violation of Colo. Const. art. IX, sec. 8: “nor shall any distinction or classification of pupils be made on account of race or color,” Kopel wrote.

Campana, in an emailed statement, said Bennet needs to “once and for all condemn critical race theory” before adding that Bennet once served as Superintendent for Denver Public Schools.

He said:

Senator Michael Bennet needs to once and for all condemn critical race theory and the segregationist ‘Families of Color Playground Night’ policy that has resulted inside the Denver Public Schools system where he served as the Superintendent of Public Schools. We don’t separate children by the color of their skin in this country and Senator Bennet needs to stand up to his colleagues and tell them to stop teaching radical racist policies to the next generation of Coloradans. The racist thinking that has taken hold at Denver Public Schools is dangerous and every second that passes without public condemnation from Senator Bennet is an insult to students and parents of every race.

In a statement to Fox News, Centennial Elementary said the event was meant to make black families “feel more included” :

Our school leaders met with some of the Black families whose children attend our school to determine ways for these families to feel more included in our school community. Some of these families shared with us that, since the only time many of them see one another is at drop-off and pick-up times, we host some events where Black families can meet one another, connect with one another and share their experiences about the school with one another. We are honoring their request. All families are welcome to attend all of our events, and families from a variety of backgrounds have done so.


Denver Public Schools’ Scott Pribble, who appears to list his preferred pronouns in his email response, also confirmed the existence of the event in a correspondence posted by Rufo. 

“Denver Public Schools’ Scott Pribble (he/him/his) has confirmed Centennial Elementary’s racially-segregated playground program, which, he claims, “create a space of belonging” and “are about uniting us, not dividing us,” Rufo wrote.


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