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AdvocacyPublic, legislative and legal advocacy

Fellowship of Christian Athletes, et al. v. San Jose Unified School District, et al.

This matter involves a challenge to a school district’s nondiscrimination policies by a student club that excludes students in certain protected classes from holding leadership positions, it may impact the way LEAs in California implement their nondiscrimination policies with respect to student clubs. State law requires that LEAs maintain nondiscrimination policies and also prohibits discrimination based on various protected classes in school programs and activities. Federal laws, such as Title IX, also prohibit such discrimination. If a Court were to agree with FCA’s claim that its first amendment, fourteenth amendment, and Equal Access Act rights require that it be allowed to exclude students in protected classes from its leadership positions but still have all of the rights and privileges of an ASB-recognized club, it would place all LEAs in an untenable position in which they would have to make exceptions to their nondiscrimination policies for religious clubs in contravention of state and federal law.

See the amicus brief.

Rodriguez et. al. v. Sandoval
The Public Records Act (“PRA”) is intended to make sure the people have a right of access to information concerning the conduct of the people's business. Although the PRA is liberally construed in favor of disclosing public records, it does not apply to personal records that are outside the scope of the public’s business. PRA requests are usually sent to the agency that is the custodian of record for the records being sought. In this case, the court required the disclosure of emails related to a public charter school by way of a PRA request to a public community college. The emails sought belonged to a community college employee who also served in a volunteer role for the charter school. If it stands, the ruling here could increase the burden on school districts and COEs to respond to PRA requests simply because they employ someone who has connections to another public entity. The precedent set by this would increase the burden on public schools having to respond to PRA requests.

On March 15, 2022, the ELA filed an amicus brief.
Kennedy v. Bremerton School District
As public entities, pursuant to the First Amendment and the principle of separation of church and state, school districts and COEs are charged with regulating speech and conduct that endorses religion within schools. School districts and COEs should have the authority to establish reasonable restrictions on speech directed at students within the school context, and enforce their board policies, without fear of violating constitutional rights.

On April 1, 2022, the ELA filed an amicus brief.
E.E. et. al. v. State of California
Plaintiffs are seeking a permanent injunction of the independent study requirements of AB 130 for students with disabilities. The complaint names only a few students, but there are more than 700,000 students with recognized disabilities in California. Enjoining AB 130 in the middle of the school year after districts have planned the school year around independent study would further strain already- limited school resources.

The ELA will file an amicus brief in support of the State once the party briefs have been filed.
Davis v. Fresno Unified School District (Davis II)
To complete school construction projects, school districts can choose from a variety of project delivery methods, including lease-leaseback. School districts rely on being able to validate the contracts and have certainty in their legality, and Davis II creates uncertainty and risk regarding validation proceedings for school districts that use the lease-leaseback method. A favorable ruling would bring clarity for school districts regarding the requirements for school construction using lease-leaseback contracts.

 On August 20, 2021, the ELA filed an amicus brief in support of Fresno USD.
Brennon B. v. West Contra Costa Unified School District
An application of the Unruh Act to school districts could open up districts to recovery of excessive treble damages and attorney’s fees for plaintiffs, thereby creating greater financial risk for already underfunded public schools.

On September 15, 2021, the ELA filed an amicus brief in support of West Contra Costa USD.