Santa Barbara Unified School District Wins Federal Court Ruling
Photo: Santa Barbara Unified School District
By edhat staff
A federal judge has sided with the Santa Barbara Unified School District and local non-profit Just Communities Central Coast in a ten-page court opinion which moves toward dismissing all claims brought against them in a lawsuit.
On Wednesday, United States District Court Judge Stephen V. Wilson determined the lawsuit filed by a local group called Fair Education Santa Barbara, Inc., did not have legal standing to assert its alleged claims of intentional discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion, and sex. In addition, the Court denied Fair Education’s motion for a preliminary injunction that would have invalidated SB Unified’s contract with Just Communities.
“Our district is committed to a belief that all students have the capacity and desire to learn, which is made better in an environment where students feel safe, welcome and included,” said Cary Matsuoka, Superintendent of Santa Barbara Unified School District. “The federal court’s decisive decision affirms our ability to provide opportunities for staff and students to learn about ways to minimize discrimination and prejudice in all its forms.”
Based upon lack of federal jurisdiction, the ruling also completely dismissed the claim against SB Unified that challenged the legality of its contract with Just Communities.
Fair Education Santa Barbara has publicly alleged the school district and non-profit's program promote racism against white people. Their website states the organization's intentions are to "ensure that public funds are not used for improper purposes, such as programs which discriminate on the basis of race, national origin, sex, or any other constitutionally prohibited status. It is also our intention to ensure that state and federal laws are followed in awarding contracts for goods and services so that cronyism, favoritism, waste and mismanagement may be spotlighted and eliminated."
Fair Education's attorney Eric Early released a statement to KEYT stating the ruling is just a temporary setback due to the following reasons:
"1. The Court did not address Just Communities’ unlawful discrimination and its indoctrination of Santa Barbara’s teachers and students, because those issues were not before the Court on the motions ruled on yesterday.
2. The Court instead ruled on the technical issue of “standing” and is requiring Fair Education Santa Barbara to provide more identifying information about the people being harmed by Just Communities’ discriminatory indoctrination programming.
3. The Court also determined that the state law claim requiring Santa Barbara Unified School District to submit the Just Communities contract for public bidding to other providers – which the District has failed to do -- is a state court matter. Thus, Fair Education Santa Barbara expects its injunction request based on the bidding requirement to be ruled on by the state court in a future proceeding."
The court gave Fair Education until April 8, 2019, to file an amended complaint seeking to correct the deficiencies, or else the case is to be dismissed. The official court ruling is available below.