A California school district is considering adopting a new policy that could cause students to be expelled for “rejecting” each other, for sharing “unpleasant stories” about each other – even if true – or for associating with like-minded peers in groups if others feel “left out.”

According to a statement from the Pro-Family Law Center, the Murrieta Valley Unified School District in Riverside County, Calif., is taking up the issue in response to race-related incidents that have taken place within the district in the last year.

The center says national race-based organizations came to the district to propose language for the policy, which prevents students from forming or openly participating in groups that tend to exclude, or create the impression of the exclusion of, other students.

“Based on a plain reading of the proposed regulation, a student could be expelled for simply claiming to be a member of La Raza (‘The Race’), a Latino organization, or for playing rap music near white students,” said the law group’s statement.

Richard D. Ackerman is vice president of legal affairs for the Pro-Family Law Center.

“This is a brutal affront to the First Amendment,” Ackerman said. “Students have a right to associate with each other and should not be punished for dividing themselves into groups that allow individuals to better relate to each other.

“For example, Latino students have unique socio-economic circumstances that justify allowing them to privately associate with each other, just as much as Christian students may have things in common that warrant the creation of a private group whose members share common values and attitudes. School districts have no right to interfere with the peaceful activities of any club or social group, even if the mere existence of the group makes certain persons uncomfortable.”

Ackerman is a MVUSD parent and has sent a strongly worded legal opinion to the district. Litigation is threatened if the proposed policy is approved.

Under the policy, Ackerman says, no group would be allowed to engage in any behavior that makes others “feel left out.”

The school board is scheduled to vote on the proposal tomorrow.

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