Sunday, March 19, 2006

IMPORTANT: two lawsuits in california textbook case

mar 19th

finally, some action that yanks can understand. no more talking, getting the courts to do their bit. and us courts are by and large fair.

HAF is suing the board mostly on violation of procedure. strong case, filed in california courts.

CAPEEM is filing in federal court, claiming civil rights violation/discrimination and violation of the principle of separation of church and state. this could be a big one, as these are major principles in the constitution.

both suits are worth supporting, and are attacks based on different principles. i suggest that you all help raise funds for both.

 For Immediate Release

Los Angeles, March 17, 2006.

PRESS RELEASE: CAPEEM FIGHTS DISCRIMINATION AGAINST HINDU CHILDREN WITH A
LAWSUIT

California Parents for the Equalization of Educational Materials (CAPEEM)
has filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of
California against the California State Board of Education and the
California Department of Education.

The complaint was filed with the Federal Court on Tuesday, March 14th, 2006.

The essence of the Complaint is that the California State Board of Education
(SBE) and California Department of Education (CDE) violated the civil rights
of Hindu schoolchildren by advancing an inaccurate and derogatory picture of
Hinduism in sixth grade school textbooks. California State Board meetings
on the matter failed to give an adequate voice to Hindu concerns. There has
been a violation of Federal and State laws and statutes, as well as CDE and
SBE guidelines.

Various Hindu groups and parents participated in this process since the
Sixth grade History-Social Sciences textbooks came up for adoption last
year. After being let down by the CDE and SBE, the parents decided to go to
court and restore their children’s civil rights. Many students, both
past and present, have spoken to CDE and SBE about their experience in the
classroom and that the Hinduism that is taught in the school has nothing to
do with what they know and practice at home.

Venkat Balasubramani filed the complaint on CAPEEM’s behalf.
Balasubramani is an attorney who has worked in the past with public interest
groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), on civil rights
matters.

For further information please contact Murali Menon at:
e-mail address: media@capeem.org
Phone: (310) 804-5126
Web Site: www.capeem.org



*HINDU AMERICAN FOUNDATION SUES CALIFORNIA STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION*



*DATE: March 16, 2006*

* *

*Sacramento**, California: *The Hindu American Foundation (HAF) filed suit
against the California State Board of Education (SBE) in California Superior
Court in Sacramento today. After months of repeated correspondence with the
SBE and California Department of Education (CDE), HAF filed suit as
the foundation contends that a fair and open process was not followed in
adopting textbooks that introduce Hinduism to sixth grade students. HAF sued
the SBE for failure to perform those duties required by the California
Education Code and the Standards of Evaluation of Instructional Materials
with respect to Social Content.



"Today Hindu Americans have taken a stand against not only the illegal
machinations of the SBE and unfair treatment Hindus received during the
textbook adoption process, but also the inaccurate and unequal portrayal of
their religious tradition in school textbooks," said Nikhil Joshi, Esq.,
member of the HAF Board of Directors. "This is about treating Hindus in
America and their religion with the same level of sensitivity and balance
afforded to other religious traditions and their practitioners," continued
Joshi.



The HAF complaint alleges that the SBE violated the law when it approved
textbooks for sixth grade history-social science that tend to demean,
stereotype, and reflect adversely upon Hindus; that portray Hinduism as
undesirable; that hold Hindu beliefs and practices up to ridicule or as
inferior; that inaccurately describe and characterize Hinduism; and
discourage belief in that religious tradition. HAF identified five areas
where the foundation holds that the staff recommended edits were not only
inadequate, but also inconsistent.



HAF asks in the lawsuit that 1) the description of the role and status of
women in Hinduism be neutral and consistent with the treatment accorded this
issue in the context of other religions; 2) the description of the caste
system and the social practice of "untouchability" be historically accurate
and consistent with descriptions of social inequities in other societies
that are falsely perpetrated by some in the name of religion; 3) description
of Hindu theology and its understanding of divinity be consistent with the
understanding of practicing Hindus; 4) Hinduism not be unfavourably compared
with other religions or made to appear as a more regressive or archaic
belief system; and 5) the text present the Aryan Invasion or Aryan Migration
Theory as one possibility, along with the prevailing view among Hindus that
Hinduism is indigenous to India.



On December 2, 2005, SBE's Curriculum Commission initially approved several
Hindu edits that addressed these issues. The SBE decided to ignore the
Curriculum Commission only in regards to the edits suggested by Hindu
groups. HAF further argues that the SBE violated the California Open Meeting
Act among other procedural violations when it made numerous private
determinations that effectively subverted the public process. The Bagley-
Keene Open Meeting Act requires that certain state agency meetings be
conducted openly so that the public may remain informed.



HAF is seeking a temporary restraining order to halt the publishing of the
textbooks until the issue of whether the textbooks meet the state standards
have been resolved by a court of law.



"We're dealing with hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars here," stated
Suhag Shukla, Esq. HAF Legal Counsel. "We need to ensure that the suggested
edits by the Hindu American community are given due consideration and that
ultimately the text is fair and accurate before it goes to the print."



An emergency hearing for injunctive relief will be scheduled within the
next week. A copy of the complaint and exhibits are available on *
www.hinduamericanfoundation.org*

3 comments:

Kalyani said...

An "accurate portrayal" of Hinduism and a flawless understanding of Vedantham,Puranams etc...everything connected with what is loosely called Hinduism would be of immense and indelible value to the entire world.

I have to give it to them.There have been *some* whites who have sincerely embarked on their quest to understand.And have written or translated certain of our Texts very lucidly.

When Swami Vivekananda spoke first,one of the Americans exclaimed .."He,a heathen?....We need more such like Him in our country..."

It is the mushrooming of half baked,supershrewd cultists who are in no meagre way responsible for the decay that has set in.

Hindus by and large should not imagine, by basking in reflected glory,salvation is assured.Never.

Each one has to make an earnest endeavour.

bly243001 said...

So, what is the final outcome of this controversy? Can somebody clarify what has been accepted and what has been rejected? There have been some conflicting reports but it would seem hindu-haters have won again.

someone said...

and us courts are by and large fair.

I wouldn't say that. If I'm not mistaken, this will probably get a jury trial, so it's actually easier for prejudices to creep in. But, if nothing else, it's encouraging to see there are Hindus who are willing to do something about the injustice done to them.