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HARTFORD, Connecticut (LifeSiteNews) — A teacher in Connecticut filed a federal lawsuit after he said he was subjected to “retaliatory discipline” when he objected to mandatory training on issues like “white privilege” and critical race theory.

John Grande, a 35-year veteran teacher working for Hartford Public Schools in Connecticut, filed the lawsuit on January 3 after facing an alleged “show trial” and letter of reprimand “carrying the Board’s imminent threat of termination” after he “expressed his feelings about his employer’s presentation on white privilege and use of resources to advance critical race theory,” according to the 20-page lawsuit.

Critical race theory (CRT) is an academic framework that asserts that people are inherently oppressed or oppressors based upon their skin color. It has been promulgated in colleges, K-12 schools, corporate board rooms, administrative government, and more, and heavily criticized by conservatives who argue the framework is misleading, divisive, and fundamentally racist.

According to Chris Rufo, a conservative writer and filmmaker who has worked to bring the threat of CRT into public consciousness, the theory “isn’t an exercise in promoting racial sensitivity or understanding history. It’s a radical ideology that seeks to use race as a means of moral, social and political revolution.”

RELATED: Critical Race Theory: It’s a cancer, not a cure

According to the January 3 filing, Grande and others were required to participate in a training session on “race and privilege” via Zoom during October, 2020 that was intended to “educate the participants on the issue of privilege (including racial, gender, religious, and other proposed forms of social privilege), so school personnel could ‘explore [their] own identity and privilege to better understand how [they] relate to [their] students in order to increase engagement and collaboration.’”

Grande argued that the phrasing of the training questions would have categorized him as being privileged due to his identity as “a straight, white, Christian male.”

“Based on those prompts, Mr. Grande believed that the Privilege Presentation targeted a certain class of people, including him, and was an exercise in critical race theory, rather than one aimed at improving the education of students,” the lawsuit states.

During a “breakout session,” Grande and his fellow participants agreed that they felt “awkward,” and Grande shared that he had just been “man-bashed and white-shamed” and slammed the training as “whitebashing BS.”

Another breakout session participant reportedly stated, “I have nothing to apologize for. I’ve worked hard for everything I have.”

According to the lawsuit, however, the administration and board then “launched a proverbial witch hunt” against Grande over his disapproval of the training and its underlying agenda “in an effort to embarrass and punish him.”

The veteran teacher said he was accused of having made “inappropriate and aggressive comments” in response to the training and was then made the subject of an investigation in which, he said, the investigator wrongfully attributed a statement to him.

Grande was also served with a reprimand letter and forced to undergo “sensitivity training.”

He has argued that his treatment, which triggered emotional distress and caused him to take extended leave, was part of a desire on the part of administrators to “punish or otherwise harm” him for his actual survey response … and/or his criticism and disagreement with the Privilege Presentation, and the Board’s systemic advancement of critical race theory.”

RELATED: WATCH: Illinois father challenges critical race theory at local school board meeting

The lawsuit further claims that Grande “has suffered substantial injury and damage, both personally and professionally.” Accordingly, the plaintiff “seeks compensatory and nominal damages against all Defendants, and punitive damages against the administrators, for the violation of his First and Fourteenth Amendment rights.” He is also seeking attorneys’ fees and related costs. 

Hartford Public Schools said in a statement to news outlet CITC that it “disagree[s] with the allegations included in [Grande’s] lawsuit” but “respect[s] the right for all to seek representation.”

“Hartford Public Schools remains committed to creating safe spaces and robust professional learning opportunities regardless of staff background, beliefs or ideology,” the district said.

Grande’s lawsuit comes as parents nationwide have participated in a surge of grassroots involvement in school boards to protect their children from being exposed to radically left-wing ideological positions on issues like sexuality and race. Lawmakers in many states have moved to ban or restrict the teaching of LGBT ideology and/or CRT in classrooms and corporate boardrooms after outrage from parents and others over radical curricula.