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ACLU of Northern California

Attorneys with the ACLU filed a lawsuit Wednesday against a school district in Madera County, saying it violated two students’ right to free speech and right to anti-LGBTQ bias in California schools.
 

When Minarets High School students Steven Madrid and Mikayla Garaffa submitted their senior quotes to the yearbook, they thought they were being inclusive. But the yearbook advisor said their quotes were “politically divisive.”

Monica Velez

About a dozen people walk out of the Merced County Superior Courthouse. They huddle under an awning over the main doors. They’re smiling and embracing each other. The sky is grey and a few drops of rain start to fall. But in a matter of minutes, the weather changes.  

 

“It’s pouring cats and dogs right now,” says ACLU attorney Michael Mehr. “The heavens have opened up and this is a joyous day in the Valley.”

 

Immigrants who are fleeing domestic or gang violence can seek asylum once again.

 

On Wednesday, a federal judge struck down a decision made by former Attorney General Jeff Sessions in June. Sessions’ decision disqualified domestic and gang violence claims for people applying for asylum.

 

The ACLU and the University of California’s Hastings Center for Gender and Refugee Studies filed a class action lawsuit challenging that decision in August.

 

Joe Moore / Valley Public Radio

A Fresno County Superior Court judge is allowing a lawsuit against the county public defender's office to move forward. 

The ACLU claims the office is underfunded and that violates the rights of defendants to due process and a speedy trial.

The ACLU’s Novella Coleman says budget cuts mean attorneys in the office are struggling with massive workloads. 

HIV_5_hands VIA FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS

A coalition including the American Civil Liberties Union and Equality California have joined together in an effort to change certain state laws they say criminalize people living with HIV.

At a forum held in Fresno last week, a dozen activist and medical professionals talked about a number of goals including reducing the penalty for intentionally spreading HIV from a felony to a misdemeanor.

An agreement has been reached between the Clovis Unified School District and a Native American student who wanted to wear an eagle feather at his graduation this week.

Clovis High senior Christian Titman, a member of the Pit River Tribe, says he wanted to wear the feather on his graduation cap in honor of his heritage and religion. But after several requests, the school district banned him from doing so, saying it violated the district's graduation dress code.

ACLU

In a recent court decision that some are calling historic, a Fresno County judge ruled that Clovis Unified School District’s abstinence-only sex education classes violated the state law.

Fresno County Superior Court Judge Donald Black found that the district’s abstinence- only curriculum failed to provide students with information that’s complete, medically accurate and free of bias.

iStockphoto.com

The American Civil Liberties Union says that in the past year, Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents have arrested people at Kern County courthouses, while they were paying fines for tickets, obtaining marriage licenses, and appearing for court hearings.

In a letter sent yesterday, the ACLU asked ICE to investigate and halt this practice in Bakersfield.

The American Civil Liberties Union and the Dinuba Unified School District have settled a lawsuit over a controversial education program for English language learners.

The suit alleged that the district’s Second Language Acquisition Development Instruction program led to some first and second-grade students falling behind their peers.

The program emphasized grammar, spelling and sentence structure. Critics said the program didn’t expose students to literature and vocabulary.