USM Response to Media Coverage

Today, a former school family filed a lawsuit against USM. The lawsuit alleges that the school’s decision to non-renew the enrollment of the family’s two children constituted an effort to retaliate against the family for raising concerns about the treatment of students of color and underrepresented students. The former school family has also been in contact with media to discuss their legal case. We regard highly the privacy and confidentiality of our community members and we cannot comment on the specifics of matters involving threatened or pending litigation. However, we can tell you that USM’s enrollment decisions had nothing to do with complaints of inequity or discrimination and we intend to vigorously defend the school against any claim to the contrary.
 
We cannot and will not tolerate persistently disrespectful, bullying, or harassing behavior directed at our devoted and hardworking teachers and administrators. Such conduct that makes faculty feel unsafe not only violates our Common Trust pledge and Parent-School Partnership, but also interferes with USM’s operations and precludes a positive and constructive working relationship between the school and the families we proudly serve. When such parental conduct threatens the educational environment we have created, we have no choice but to take action.
 
We are committed to our justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion programming and do not tolerate discrimination of any kind. We encourage any member of our community who believes they have experienced or witnessed discrimination to promptly report it. Consistent with our established and enforced policies, all such reports will be taken seriously. We actively encourage and highly value feedback from all our constituents regarding our educational programming. It is through continuously examining our practices and curriculum that we remain a strong institution.
 
As you know, at USM we take great pride in the supportive and inclusive community we intentionally strive to create. We believe our students can only be truly prepared for college and life when they are exposed to thinking and viewpoints beyond their own. For that reason, we embrace diversity in all of its forms. We seek to create an environment and culture where members of our community are provided with different perspectives, are taught to think broadly and develop cultural competency, and understand the importance of relating to one another with respect and kindness.
 
The decision to non-renew or terminate an enrollment contract is not unprecedented at USM—although it is a last resort. We must abide by the principles of our mission to provide an exceptional education to all of our students in a supportive and inclusive community, built on the foundation of our mutual promise to relate to one another with respect, trust, honesty, fairness, and kindness. We remain grateful for your continuous commitment to that mission.
 
This message has been shared with all members of our community, including current and prospective families, alumni and parents of alumni, and our faculty, staff, and trustees. Please know that while we cannot comment on the specifics of this family’s pending lawsuit, we are more than happy to discuss our school’s mission, programming, and policies with you.