For Immediate Release
May 12, 2021
SAN DIEGO, CA – May 12, 2021- On May 7th, 2021, legal counsel for Californians for Equal Rights Foundation (CFER) sent an official letter to the Uniform Complaint Office at the San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD), requesting that CFER’s complaint filed on April 9th, 2021 be thoroughly and properly investigated. In the official letter, we argue that SDUSD’s apparent unilateral decision to transfer the CFER complaint to the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) shows its refusal to comply with “clear law and District policy,” and possibly “a deliberate attempt to violate the law.” As a representative for impacted SDUSD employees, concerned community members and taxpayers, CFER had previously filed a formal complaint with the District in April, alleging that four trainings (three of which were mandatory) given to District employees violated state and federal anti-discrimination laws, as well as multiple District policies and procedures.
“Both the law and District policy are clear. The District is legally obligated to conduct its own investigation when there are allegations of discrimination, harassment, bullying or intimidation, which is exactly what we are alleging occurred during these training sessions. The District cannot avoid conducting its own investigation by trying to transfer the complaint to another agency,” commented Marleen Sacks, attorney for CFER, “We fully recognize the investigating a complaint such as this will be expensive and time consuming. But that is not an excuse for not investigating it. In addition, the District is not allowed to pick and choose which discrimination complaints it investigates based on the type of discrimination being alleged.”
On May 5th, 2021, SDUSD’s Uniform Compliance Officer Lynn A. Ryan notified CFER that the District was transferring the matter to the DFEH, implying that it did not intend to investigate the complaint itself. As pointed out in our current response to the transfer, the California Code of Regulations, California Education Code, and District board policies and administrative regulations clearly provide that the District must conduct and complete its own internal investigation within 60 days after the complaint is filed. On May 6th, CFER started a fundraising drive to help support all legal actions necessary to advance our case, which is also our nation’s first ever civil rights complaint against critical race training.
“We received overwhelming support of our project and the greater cause in the past several days. This demonstrates public concerns regarding dangerous critical race training with devastating effects on our culture, society, and most importantly, our kids,” said Frank Xu, president of CFER, “I appreciate our supporters and we at CFER will fight on behalf all employees, community members and taxpayers who deserve equal treatment from SDUSD.”
CFER has sufficient legal grounds to demand a transparent and neutral investigation to be conducted by SDUSD regarding “alleged systematic violations of state and federal law prohibiting race discrimination, racial harassment, bullying and intimidation, as well as multiple violations of Board Policy.” Therefore, we request that our complaint be promptly and sufficiently investigated by SDUSD through an experienced and trained attorney investigator.
About Californians for Equal Rights Foundation (CFER): We are a non-partisan and non-profit organization established following the defeat of Proposition 16 in 2020, with a mission to defend and raise public awareness on the cause of equal rights through public education, civic engagement and community outreach. In 1996, California became the first U.S. state to amend its constitution by passing Proposition 209 to ban racial discrimination and preferences. Prop. 209 requires that “the state shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting.” CFER is dedicated to educating the public on this important constitutional principle of equal treatment. www.Cferfoundation.org.