Education

Federal judge sides with SB Unified School District in 'reverse racism' lawsuit

Both organizations respond

SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. - The Santa Barbara Unified School District (SB Unified) along with Just Communities Central Coast (JCCC) won a ruling against them in a lawsuit by Fair Education Santa Barbara, Inc. on Wednesday.

Fair Education Santa Barbara sued the district claiming that it's program promoted racism against white people.

The district hired a company called Just Communities Central Coast to run the program.

Opponents claim groups of students were separated by race and the caucasian group was told that whites are to blame for discrimination against people of color.

United States District Court Judge Stephen V. Wilson wrote a 10-page opinion that was filed Wednesday, that determined Fair Education's claims did not have legal standing to support their lawsuit of intentional discrimination on the basis of race, sex, religion, and ethnicity.

The court also denied Fair Education’s motion for a preliminary injunction which would have invalidated SB Unified’s contract with Just Communities.

“Our district is committed to a belief that all students have the capacity and desire to learn, which is made better in an environment where students feel safe, welcome and included...The federal court’s decisive decision affirms our ability to provide opportunities for staff and students to learn about ways to minimize discrimination and prejudice in all its forms,” said Cary Matsuoka, Superintendent of Santa Barbara Unified School District.

The court's ruling also dismissed Fair Education's claim against SB Unified because of a lack of federal jurisdiction.

Fair Education was given until April 8 to file an amended complaint, otherwise, the case will be completely dismissed.

In a statement released to KEYT Fair Education's attorney Eric Early said, the ruling is just a temporary setback," because of the following reasons:

1.     The Court did not address Just Communities’ unlawful discrimination and its indoctrination of Santa Barbara’s teachers and students, because those issues were not before the Court on the motions ruled on yesterday.

2.     The Court instead ruled on the technical issue of “standing” and is requiring Fair Education Santa Barbara to provide more identifying information about the people being harmed by Just Communities’ discriminatory indoctrination programming.

3.     The Court also determined that the state law claim requiring Santa Barbara Unified School District to submit the Just Communities contract for public bidding to other providers – which the District has failed to do -- is a state court matter.  Thus, Fair Education Santa Barbara expects its injunction request based on the bidding requirement to be ruled on by the state court in a future proceeding.
 

Just Communities Santa Barbara Schools released a statement regarding the court's decision on Friday. It reads:

“We applaud the Court’s decision denying Fair Education Santa Barbara’s request to immediately halt Just Communities’ contract with the Santa Barbara Unified School District, where over 14,000 students benefit from evidence-based programs that improve educational outcomes and help build stronger communities. For over a decade, Just Communities has partnered with Santa Barbara schools, resulting in significant improvements in academic achievement, including in English language arts and math proficiency for Latinx students.

“Opponents of Just Communities’ work have mischaracterized our content and approach in litigation and through a media campaign that attacks our programs and suggests bias where there is none. Just Communities’ programs and work are critically needed and we are proud to continue providing nationally recognized, evidence-based diversity, equity and inclusion services in the Santa Barbara Unified School District.
 


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