Yesterday, April 28, 2022, your FLTJ Warriors secured another major victory for children, families, and every person’s right to Freedom and Privacy, this time against the second-biggest school district in the nation: Los Angeles Unified School District (“LAUSD”).
Recall that FLTJ, on behalf of their fearless, generous partners and clients, California Chapter (“CHD-CA”) and Protection of the Educational Rights of Kids (“PERK”), sued LAUSD for illegally imposing a COVID-19 vaccine requirement on its students ages 12 years and up on the grounds that the District lacked legal authority to impose such a mandate, and were (i) violating students’ and families’ fundamental and constitutional rights to privacy to make medical decisions for themselves; (ii) unlawfully and cruelly segregating and discriminating among schoolchildren; and (iii) depriving children of their fundamental, constitutional right to an education, among other misdeeds. After CHD-CA and PERK asked for a temporary restraining order in December 2021 to stop the deprivation of almost 35,000 students from in-person services and segregation into the District’s overwhelmed, failing remote, independent study program, LAUSD suddenly changed course on January 14 and voted to delay implementation of the mandate and removal of students until the Fall of 2022.
But we kept going.
On April 15, 2022, we went to court to oppose a motion by the District to dismiss CHD-CA’s and PERK’s lawsuit. LAUSD claimed that its COVID-19 vaccine requirement was not actually a mandate, but a “placement determination” within the authority of the District, and that it was not discriminating against schoolchildren or depriving them of any rights – after all, it was their “choice” not to get the shot – but we would not relent. We argued that, even if the mandate was “just” a “placement determination,” it still violated California law because the Education Code does not allow school districts to force children into independent study without the consent of the student and his or her parents, and must allow children to return to campus whenever they wish. The Code also requires independent study program students to have equal access to on-campus services and facilities, and comparable, not sub-par, remote learning.
After over an hour of oral argument – and yet another tentative ruling against CHD-CA and PERK – Judge Beckloff shockingly informed us that he needed to take his tentative under submission, and we have been awaiting his decision, which arrived Tuesday afternoon:
After almost two weeks of deliberation, Judge Beckloff issued his final ruling overruling the District’s motion. Judge Beckloff granted us “leave” to clarify the District’s violations of the Education Code, and denied the District’s request to dismiss our claims.
But that is not it:
Yesterday, less than 48 hours of the Court’s ruling, the District announced that it is recommending and will vote on May 10 “to align with the state of California’s student requirement for COVID-19 vaccinations delaying the effective date to no sooner than July 1, 2023.” In other words, in a same fashion it moved to saved face in light of our December hearing and rally and “delayed implementation” of its mandate to Fall 2022 “to allow families more time to comply with the mandate and get vaccinated,” the District is attempting to save face, again, now, and holding back its illegal mandate-masquerading-as-a-“placement”-policy until the State requires it. In other words: your CHD-CA, PERK, and FLTJ team was right: individual school districts do not have the authority to unilaterally require new vaccines, especially without satisfying the Legislature’s extensive procedural requirements and Due Process safeguards. And they do NOT have the right to force children who refuse to comply with these illegal mandates out of school and into independent study programs.
PLEASE MARK YOUR CALENDARS FOR MAY 10. We will be rallying at Board in Downtown, Los Angeles not only to ensure they pass the vote, but to tell them we are done. This is a call to action to every parent, every student, every concerned human being to show up, #RISEUP and shut down these illegal, unconstitutional dangerous mandates on our children, once and for all.
KEEP GOING. We are winning, but we cannot stop until these attempts to separate, segregate, and silence us and our children are over for good.