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Rainbow Day Sparks Lawsuit Against California School District . . . and Appeal

The parent of a San Jose Unified School District pupil has appealed the dismissal of her school district lawsuit to a California appellate court.

Rainbow%20Day%20at%20School.jpgPlaintiff Norina Mooney got riled up when the local Lesbian and Gay Bisexual Transgender (“LGBT”) chapter sponsored a “Rainbow Day” celebration at her adolescent’s middle school. Immediately after the event, Mooney requested the insertion of several new items into the school district’s agenda. Her purported reason for making the request was to garner greater event participation by non-LGBT students affected by bullying.

Despite state legislation that mandates the inclusion of such private input into school district agendas, school district officials denied Mooney’s request. The stated reason for the refusal was an alleged lack of jurisdiction over middle school decision makers in such matters. In the ensuing school district lawsuit, Mooney seeks injunctive relief to compel educational authorities to adopt her previously proposed agenda modifications.

The Public Justice Institute (“PJI”) is the plaintiff’s current legal counsel in this case. PJI president Brad Dacas posited that tolerating the improper imposition of social agendas on the public by its own elected officials is bad. According to Dacas, however, societal acquiescence in the unconstitutional denial of statutory rights to individual expression is far worse.

Dacas further advanced free societies cannot countenance the systematic stifling of open debate about vital public interest concerns.

For now, the question remains open as to whether the California school district officials involved in this case indeed committed grievous legal error. An indisputable fact is that the avoidance of improper conduct or even the appearance of same is crucial for all public school officials.

If you are a California school administrator with a question about student/teacher safety, special education, accommodations, student rights, free speech or discipline, or school employment law, feel free to call attorney Richard Oppenheim at 818-461-8500. There is never a charge for an initial consultation and we can help you choose the best direction to resolve any school district issue.