Middle School Civil Rights Violations

Decent Essays
Four Berkeley Unified School District (BUSD) students and their four parent representatives have filed a lawsuit against BUSD officials on the terms of civil rights violations and damages on behalf of Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School (MLK) seventh grade history, English, and English Language Development (ELD) teacher Yvette Felarca. The lawsuit alleges that students were interviewed during the school day by school district board members, attorneys, or officials. The lawsuit claims that the interviewers of the students committed acts of racial profiling and racial intimidation. The interviews were conducted as a part of an investigation of Felarca. The plaintiffs are seeking class action status on the counts of violations of California’s…show more content…
The rally was a counter-protest of a gathering of white supremacists, which resulted in a display of physical aggressiveness and violence. “I think the administrative leave that they placed me on was a continuation of the administration’s retaliation against me for the role I played in protesting the neo-Nazi’s and fascists in Sacramento” said Felarca. Felarca is a member of By Any Means Necessary (BAMN), a coalition that aims to defend civil rights relating to immigrant rights and equality. It is alleged by the lawsuit that during Felarca’s leave of absence, district officials, including Superintendent Donald Evans, attorney Marleen Sacks, and other members of BUSD’s Board of Education, questioned many of Felarca’s current and former ELD students. According to the lawsuit, the district interviewed 21 of her current 22 ELD students at MLK and two or more of her former students who currently attend Berkeley High…show more content…
The lawsuit alleges that, in addition to questions based on immigration and nationality, the defendants asked questions pertaining to their own political activities. The plaintiffs’ attorney and organizer for BAMN Ronald Cruz said, “The only reason they interrogated her was because they had showed up at a school board meet and had spoken in defense of Ms. Felarca.” Similarly, Felarca believes that the interrogations of the students are directly related to her own affairs with BUSD. Although none of the defendants are able to comment on the lawsuit, Leyva-Cutler said that “the district is a strong proponent of our individual and collective right to free speech, civil rights, and all protections as provided by laws governing schools.” The plaintiffs are fighting to reassure the rights of students, teachers, and parents to advocate for immigration rights. “We filed the lawsuit to send a strong message that it's unacceptable and to expose and uncover the political and racial discrimination that's coming from the district administration” said
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