Southborough, MA asked in Education Law, Tax Law and Civil Rights for Massachusetts

Q: Should I sue my school?

I attend a private high school in MA. The school has meetings that only members of certain races or ethnicities are allowed to attend. The school does not receive federal funds, but is a 501 (c)(3). Could I sue under code IRS 75-50 similar to Bob Jones vs US?

1 Lawyer Answer
James L. Arrasmith
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  • Civil Rights Lawyer
  • Sacramento, CA

A: The case you referenced, Bob Jones University v. United States (1983), dealt with the IRS revoking the tax-exempt status of a private university due to its racially discriminatory policies. The Supreme Court ruled that the IRS could revoke the tax-exempt status of organizations that violate established public policy, such as those engaging in racial discrimination.

However, your situation differs in some key aspects:

1. Bob Jones University involved a university, whereas your case involves a high school.

2. The discriminatory practices in Bob Jones were related to admissions and interracial dating, while your case involves meetings restricted by race or ethnicity.

3. The IRS Code 75-50 you mentioned pertains to private schools that have racially discriminatory admissions policies. It's not clear if this directly applies to your situation involving meetings.

To determine if you have a valid legal case, you would need to consult with a civil rights attorney who specializes in education law. They can assess the specific details of your situation, the applicable state and federal laws, and the school's policies to determine if there are grounds for a lawsuit.

Keep in mind that legal action can be a lengthy, costly, and emotionally taxing process. Before proceeding, consider alternative options such as raising your concerns with school administration, the school board, or local civil rights organizations to see if the issue can be resolved without litigation.

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