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Submitted by on 1, August 12, 2009 – 4:12 pm2 Comments


Updated 9:24 a.m. Thursday, August 13

A group of 20 Alameda parents have filed a lawsuit against the school district in Alameda County Superior Court because the district has denied their requests to opt out of anti-gay bullying lessons.

The Pacific Justice Institute, a Sacramento group involved in a separate lawsuit against school administrators in Castro Valley over a lesbian pastor’s talk at a high school there, announced the suit in a press release today.

The release said the group filed the suit after numerous parents asked the district for the right to opt out of the lessons but were denied, which the group says is a violation of the state education code. It says that racial tensions and opposite-sex harassment are bigger problems in Alameda’s schools and that the district received no complaints of same-sex harassment in its elementary schools.

A spokesman for the legal outfit was unable to immediately provide a copy of the lawsuit, but a reporter found the case – Aisha Balde vs. the Alameda Unified School District – online on the court’s website. The case filing was not immediately available, but Balde did speak out against the curriculum at contentions public hearings held before the school board approved it.

School Board President Mike McMahon said Thursday morning that the district has not yet been served with the suit.

The school board okayed the curriculum in May, saying it was a necessary step toward curbing anti-gay bullying and giving gays and their families more positive visibility in schools. Superintendent Kirsten Vital also said she would have staff examine the curriculum to ensure that other groups including different races and religions weren’t left out. The lessons are to be taught at elementary schools starting this fall as part of the district’s broader anti-violence curriculum.

Three members of the school board – Tracy Jensen, Ron Mooney and Nielsen Tam – received notices over the weekend that recall campaigns were being mounted against them because they voted in favor of the lessons. A local blogger, John Knox White, has mounted a petition in support of the school board trustees that had garnered more than 200 signatures as of Wednesday night.

The case number is RG09468037, and can be accessed here.


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