A class-action lawsuit was filed against the Berkeley School District on Wednesday by immigrant students and their parents. The lawsuit claims that the District is guilty of racial discrimination, retaliation, violation of First Amendment rights, and a hostile educational environment.
Titled Lupe Vargas v. Berkeley Unified School District, the lawsuit was created after middle-school students were allegedly interrogated by a lawyer about their politics and activities without parents’ knowledge. Ronald Cruz, attorney with the Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration, and Immigrant Rights and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary (BAMN), has been assigned to the case. “The interrogations were conducted by BUSD (1) to send a hostile message to BUSD immigrant, Latina/o, and other minority students that speech by students and their families against racism would lead prompt retaliation by BUSD, and (2) to pursue the BUSD’s witch-hunt of Filipina-American and immigrant teacher Yvette Felarca for protesting the Nazis. This is racist, disrespectful, and unacceptable,” he stated.
The lawsuit is being presented to the Berkeley School District at a Board of Education meeting Wednesday evening.