A coalition of groups representing the Jewish community has filed a lawsuit against the Santa Ana Unified School District alleging the school board adopted anti-Semitic curriculum and did so without allowing for adequate input.
The suit claims SAUSD violated the Brown Act, California’s open meetings law, and demands the court block the controversial curriculum.
Among their claims is that SAUSD has allowed Ethnic Studies courses to include teachings that equate Israel with “settler colonialism,” and call Zionism “a nationalist, colonial ideology” that calls for the expansion of the Jewish state in “historic Palestine by any means necessary.”
When they were developing the curriculum, plaintiffs allege the school board committee discussed how to “address the Jewish question” – meaning potential objections from the Jewish community. Instead of seeking input from Jews, the panel instead sought input from organizations with a history of antisemitism, the suit alleges.
“It’s clear that the Santa Ana Unified School District violated the law in their rush to approve antisemitic content within their ethnic studies curriculum,” said James Pasch, ADL Senior Director of National Litigation. “Closed-door discussions prevented input from marginalized communities – in direct contrast to the goal of the ethnic studies program, which is to support marginalized communities.”
When members of the Jewish community appeared at a meeting to publicly comment after the controversial curriculum was approved, they were harassed with antisemitic rhetoric, the plaintiffs allege.
The school district declined to comment on the lawsuit on Monday. However, a spokesperson sent KTLA a previously distributed statement stating its goal to provide “balanced, multiple perspectives” on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
“The District itself has no political position on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, just like the District would not take a political position on other global conflicts,” the statement read. “However, we do understand that members in our community, including our students and families, share strong opinions on issues such as these. We will always encourage open and respectful dialogue in our schools as part of our effort to provide a well-rounded education.”
The Santa Ana Unified School District serves roughly 44,000 K-12 students in Orange County.