Mae M. contra Komrosky

Equidad en la educación

El Consejo Escolar de Temecula pone fin a la censura del plan de estudios de las escuelas públicas

In Diciembre 2022, the Temecula Valley Unified School District school board passed a resolution that bans the teaching of a sweeping and ill-defined range of content referred to as “Critical Race Theory and other similar frameworks,” censoring what students learn about American history and their own identities. While the Board claims that its ban targets critical race theory, Board members have used the resolution’s vague provisions to eliminate from Temecula’s classrooms any concepts that conflict with their ideological viewpoints, including the history of the LGBTQ rights movement and the existence of racism in today’s society. The resolution’s lack of clarity has chilled many teachers into silence and led to large-scale protests by students who say that their constitutional rights to learn and to be free from discrimination are threatened by the ban. 

To fight back against this censorship, students, parents, and individual teachers filed a lawsuit on Agosto 2, 2023, against the Board of Trustees of the Temecula Valley Unified School District (Board) over the enactment of its resolution banning the teaching of concepts with which Board members disagree. The suit is a first-of-its-kind case in California and seeks to invalidate the unconstitutional resolution in Temecula, creating a legal precedent that affirms students’ right to comprehensive, fact-based education in California’s K–12 public schools. 

The plaintiffs came together to defend the right to learn for all students; however, their lawsuit highlights that the ban is particularly harmful to students of color and LGBTQ students, whose identities, histories, and cultures it stigmatizes and sidelines. And the ban jeopardizes the jobs and well-being of teachers across the District, who have to square the resolution’s restrictions with the content they are mandated to teach under the State’s academic standards. 

The Temecula students, parents, and educators are represented by Public Counsel and Ballard Spahr LLP, with the support of the California Teachers Association (CTA). Ballard Spahr is working on the case as part of the firm’s Racial Justice and Equality Initiative, a pro bono plan of action dedicated to combating racial injustice and inequity through litigation.

Tribunal

Superior Court of The State Of California, County Of Riverside

Estado

Activo

Caso No.

CVSW2306224

Archivado en

08/02/2023

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Casos y acontecimientos clave

Archivo

Judge Keen Denys Defendants’ Demurrer and Anti-SLAPP Motions

In a ruling today, Judge Eric A. Keen indicated that he will allow the case of Mae M. v. Komrosky to go forward, confirming that the plaintiffs have made viable challenges to the School Board’s policies under California law. Read the press release here.

Documentos

Archivo

World’s Largest Trade Book publisher, Writers’ Associations, First Amendment Advocacy Groups File Amicus Brief in Support of Plaintiffs

Penguin Random House, The Authors Guild, First Amendment Coalition, The Freedom to Read Foundation, PEN America, and Freedom to Learn Advocates have filed an amicus brief in support of the plaintiff’s motion for preliminary injunction, stating: “Young readers cannot expand their intellectual horizons if the only speech allowed in books is that which aligns with the views of government authorities. In a democracy, the government can contest ideas, but it cannot seek to censor them. State censorship—no matter the political cause behind it—quells free thinking. Temecula Valley Unified School District’s (“School District”) suppression of books, which is motivated by government officials’ disagreement with the views expressed in the books, violates the First Amendment.”

Documentos

Archivo

ACLU Foundations File Amicus Brief in Support of Plaintiff’s Motion for Preliminary Injunction

The ACLU Foundation of Southern California and the ACLU Foundation of Northern California filed an amicus brief in support of the plaintiff’s motion for preliminary injunction, stating “California law requires public schools to protect transgender and gender non-conforming students from discrimination and harassment and respect their privacy. The policy challenged here does just the opposite, impairing students’ ability to express themselves authentically at school and seeking to stigmatize transgender identities. The law, research, and student testimonies all make clear there is no place in California public schools for policies that put the safety and welfare of students at risk. Plaintiffs’ interest in ensuring transgender and gender non-conforming students are provided a safe and supportive education environment free of hostility and discrimination is an urgent one. Failure to grant a preliminary injunction in this case will result in significant and irreparable harm to TVUSD’s transgender and gender non-conforming students.”

Documentos

Archivo

CA Attorney General Files Amicus Brief in Support of Temecula Students

California Attorney General Rob Bonta filed an amicus brief supporting a challenge by teachers, students, and parents to two Temecula School Board policies that violate students’ constitutional and statutory rights. TVUSD Board Resolution 21 purportedly prohibits the teaching of “Critical Race Theory,” and it includes sweeping language that would censor, for example, Native American history and Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter from Birmingham Jail.” Board Policy 5020.01 compromises students’ safety, well-being, and privacy, and violates their equal protection rights, by mandating the forced outing of transgender and gender-nonconforming students without their consent and even when doing so would put them at risk of harm. Read the press release here.

Documentos

Archivo

Demanda modificada

Since the filing of our lawsuit, the Board has intensified its attacks on LGBTQ students. A week into the school year, the Board passed a coercive outing policy that targets students who identify as transgender or gender nonconforming. The policy requires TVUSD teachers and staff to out transgender and gender nonconforming students to their parents or guardians, regardless of whether students consent, and it mandates the official documentation of these forced disclosures.

Documentos

Archivo

Denuncia presentada

Students, parents, and individual teachers filed suit against the Board of Trustees of the Temecula Valley Unified School District (Board) over the enactment of its resolution banning the teaching of concepts with which Board members disagree. The suit is a first-of-its-kind case in California and seeks to invalidate the unconstitutional resolution in Temecula, creating a legal precedent that affirms students’ right to comprehensive, fact-based education in California’s K–12 public schools.

Documentos

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Clientes

Students, parents, individual teachers, and the Temecula Valley Educators Association came together to file a lawsuit against the Board of Trustees of the Temecula Valley Unified School District.

  • Edgar Díaz, president of Temecula Valley Educators Association
“TVEA decided to join this lawsuit because of the real-world impacts on our members: the educators of Temecula. In the months following the resolution’s implementation, we’ve seen its sweeping and vague language used as a weapon against educators. Teachers are being removed from the classroom for weeks at a time based on claims made anonymously or at Board meetings. Teachers have had their reputations irreparably harmed just for allowing students to use books available in our school libraries.” –Edgar Díaz
  • Amy Eytchison, teacher at Temecula Elementary School
  • Katrina Miles, teacher at Temecula Middle School
  • Jennifer Scharf, teacher at Great Oaks High School
  • Dawn Sibby, teacher at Temecula Valley High School
“As a teacher, my role is to introduce my students to a broad range of viewpoints so they can learn to think critically and form their own opinions about the world. This ban has created a climate of fear in our classrooms, and it is preventing my students from learning about the history and diversity of our nation. I’m proud to be a plaintiff in this case to fight for my students, who deserve an education not censored by Board members’ ideological beliefs.” –Dawn Sibby
  • Mae M., senior in Temecula Unified
  • Susan C., senior in Temecula Unified
  • Gwen S., junior in Temecula Unified
  • Carson L., senior in Temecula Unified
  • David P., third-grader in Temecula Unified
  • Violet B., third-grader in Temecula Unified
  • Stella B., seventh-grader in Temecula Unified
  • Rachel P., parent in Temecula Unified
  • Inez B., parent in Temecula Unified

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Organizaciones asociadas

The California Teachers Association (CTA)

The unified voice of educators in California’s public schools and colleges, CTA is a powerful and passionate advocate for students and public education. Its 310,000 members support and nurture all students in classrooms every day, preparing them to be the leaders of tomorrow.  And, as the largest affiliate in the 3-million member National Education Association, its voice is heard in the halls of our Capitol in Washington, D.C. Together and throughout our history, CTA has worked to improve the conditions of teaching and learning in California. Its members include teachers, counselors, psychologists, librarians, Education Support Professionals and other non-supervisory certificated personnel in our public schools and colleges.

Equipo jurídico

Consejo Público

Co-Consejero

Ballard Spahr LLP was founded in 1885. It focuses on litigation, securities and regulatory enforcement, business and finance, intellectual property, public finance, and real estate matters. The firm currently employs more than 600 attorneys in 15 offices throughout the United States, and includes a nationally recognized media and entertainment law practice group specializing in First Amendment litigation. For more information, visit www.ballardspahr.com.

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Pulse

Comunicadosde prensa

Historias de los medios de comunicación

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