Appeal Argues SJ Officials Broke the Law By Stifling Debate Over “Rainbow Day”
San José, CA – Opening legal briefs have been filed in the California Court of Appeal, arguing that San José school officials broke the law by refusing to even consider a parent’s request to change a controversial pro-gay celebration at her child’s middle school.
The parent, Norina Mooney, started asking questions after a pro-LGBT “Rainbow Day” was held this spring at Castillero Middle School. She asked district officials to place an item on the school board’s agenda which, if approved, would have directed the school to make Rainbow Day more inclusive of non-LGBT students affected by bullying.
While Mooney was eventually allowed to speak generally about her concerns at a board meeting, the superintendent and board president refused to place the item on the agenda, which prevented the board from taking any action on it. As a result, the board was able to duck the hot-button issue.
School officials may have thought they succeeded in avoiding the issue, but they actually broke the law, according to Mooney’s lead attorney Kevin Snider, who is also Chief Counsel of the Pacific Justice Institute. “California law says that citizens may place items directly on school board agendas for discussion and a vote. That did not happen here,” Snider said.
Attorneys for San Jose Unified have argued that the school board did not have jurisdiction to tell one of its middle schools to change a school-wide event. A Santa Clara County Superior Court judge turned down the suit without comment, prompting the appeal.
PJI president Brad Dacus commented, “At a time when too many of our schools are actively undermining parental and community values, it is imperative that we maintain the rights of citizens to go to their school boards and demand action.”
PJI staff attorneys are being assisted in this case by San Jose-based affiliate attorney Christopher Mays.