A school seeks to dismiss a lawsuit filed by Michelle Obama’s brother and his wife

A Milwaukee private school says it has filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit filed against them last month by Craig and Kelly Robinson, the brother and sister-in-law of former first lady Michelle Obama, over issues of inclusiveness and alleged racial bias.

In a 13-page court document filed last week in a Wisconsin circuit court, the University School of Milwaukee (USM) says the case should be dismissed due to “failure to state a claim upon which relief can be granted.”

Additionally, the court document argues the school exercised its contractual right to deny the Robinson children enrollment in 2021, as school officials determined it was in the “best interest of the school.”

“As you will recall from the recent media blitz, numerous false claims were made regarding racial and socioeconomic bias at the school. When initially raised, these concerns were taken very seriously, fully investigated, and ultimately found to be without merit,” said Steve Hancock, head of school for USM in a statement.

Last month, Craig and Kelly Robinson filed a lawsuit arguing that USM in 2021 expelled their two sons, who were 11 and 9 years old, despite the two children being “model, high-achieving students.”

The Robinsons say this happened following concerns the couple raised about the school’s treatment of its students of color. The couple says they raised concerns to school officials about what they say was USM’s failure to provide the “supportive, inclusive” learning environment that was promised, according to the lawsuit.

However, the school argues the couple filed the suit to get national attention and blame USM for their “eventual separation from its community,” the motion to dimiss says.

The school also argues the Robinsons omitted information regarding Kelly’s behavior throughout the school term, saying she became burdensome towards teachers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It was clear to USM at a certain point that it could not have a productive relationship with this family,” Lindsey Davis, an attorney with Quarles & Brady representing USM, told Milwaukee TV station WISN 12.

In a statement to NPR, a spokesperson for the Robinsons says they will continue to “vigorously pursue this litigation” in response to USM’s decision to dismiss the case.

“The University School of Milwaukee continues to demonstrate that they are unwilling to accept responsibility for their culpability in fostering a culture of racial insensitivity and bias,” the spokesperson said. “The Robinsons remain confident in their case.”

A hearing on the motion to dismiss the lawsuit is set for July.

Copyright 2022 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.