The Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) and local teachers union damaged the “well-being and future prospects” of students “hostage” by delaying the reopening of classrooms, according to a lawsuit filed on behalf of parents from the district.
In the lawsuit, the parents say they’ve witnessed their children suffer mental, emotional, and physical harm due to the continued school closures, the Daily Caller reports. LAUSD “breached its duty of undivided loyalty” to students by delaying reopening, according to the plaintiffs.
“[The] children have variously become suicidal, isolated, depressed, addicted, clinically obese, and had their future prosperity needlessly imperiled,” said the personal injury lawsuit, filed this week.
The suit alleges that the pandemic was an excuse to “extract concessions” from the district, including defunding the police and programs to address “systemic racism.”
The suit also accused LAUSD of violating the California Constitution by failing to provide in-person instruction for at least six months of the year, according to the report.
The Daily Caller reports that the lawsuit includes studies and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidances that prove reopening schools did not lead to an increase COVID-19 cases. The CDC issued guidance in February stating that schools can reopen so long as certain safety measures are in place.
After California finalized a reopening plan that would offer $2 billion in financial incentives for schools to open before April 1. the teachers union president, Cecily Myart-Cruz criticized the state school re-opening plan. Myart-Cruz said it was being driven by “white wealthy parents,” and “(I)f this was a rich person’s disease, we would’ve seen a very different response.”
According to Myart-Cruz the plan would only go to “white and wealthier schools that do not have the transmission rates that low-income black and brown communities do.”
Following this, the Daily Caller reported black parents organized a rally in support of reopening.
“I feel like I’m on a roller coaster,” Maggie Pulley, a teacher and mom of three kids, said according to the lawsuit. “I’m Black. My kids are Black. I’m an educator. UTLA is not advocating for what’s best for kids. Sitting at home and languishing on Zoom is not what’s best for kids,” Pulley said.
“If anyone needs their kids back, it’s people of color and communities with low incomes,” Ana Lemus, a Latina mom from South LA, said, according to the lawsuit.
The plaintiffs are seeking compensatory damages of $15,920 per plaintiff student, in order to pay for tuition at another school that provides in-person learning, in addition to other compensatory damages and the cost of the lawsuit, including attorney fees.
In February, the Daily Caller reported San Francisco sued its own school district, citing a record number of suicidal children and worsening mental health among students due to continued school closure.