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Roundup: Confederate Flags, Christian Textbooks, and Native Hawaiians

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During a quiet week in mid-August, it's time to catch up with these school law developments of the past few days:

Confederate Symbols in School: A Tennessee student's lawsuit challenging school restrictions on displays of the Confederate flag has gone to trial, as the Associated Press reports here.

California Curriculum: A federal district judge has ruled that the University of California system may deny admissions recognition for courses at Christian high schools that used textbooks that did not meet college-preparatory standards.
The schools used books that treated the Bible as an irrefutable source on historic events and taught students to reject scientific evidence whenever it may be inconsistent with the Bible, but there was no religious animus in the university's decisions, said the Aug. 8 opinion by U.S. District Judge S. James Otero in Association of Christian Schools International v. Stearns.
The University of California system has this press release on the ruling.
The ASCI's lawsuit is here, and its overview of the case is here.
The San Francisco Chronicle reported on Judge Otero's ruling here.

New Suit Over 'Native Hawaiians': The Kamehameha Schools in Hawaii are again being sued over their policy of limiting admissions to students of Hawaiian descent. The school, like the state of Hawaii in various governmental programs, defines Native Hawaiians as the descendants of indigenous inhabitants of the Hawaiian Islands before the first landfall of Westerners in 1778.
The new suit filed last week on behalf of four families alleges that the restriction violates federal civil rights laws, according to this press release from their lawyers.
The school's policy was upheld in a previous challenge by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, in this decision. But when the student in that case appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, the school reached a settlement, which I reported on in Education Week here.
The disclosure that the student in the original lawsuit was paid a settlement of $7 million has prompted the Kamehameha Schools to file its own lawsuit for breach of confidentiality. That suit is here and an announcement is here.
Thanks to Scotusblog for the tip.
Although the challenged policy at the Kamehameha Schools is probably unique in the nation, I am hopeful that this new suit will one day reach the Supreme Court. Education Week has a general practice of visiting the sites of origin for all major education cases being argued in the high court, and I would be happy to fulfill that responsibility with a trip to Hawaii.


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Balancing the rights of minority groups (such as the native Hawaiians) with the Civil Rights Act, Constitution and other laws, is always a challenging battle. The Roberts Court seems to shy away from protecting even recognized minorities, so if it got to that levle, the Court would most likely rule that the school had to allow other students.

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