BERKELEY, Calif. – Four students and four parents filed a class-action civil rights lawsuit in federal court claiming district officials allegedly racially targeted and intimidated them while their teacher, Yvette Felarca, was on administrative leave.
“They were being asked what country they were born in, what country their family was born in, what kind of protest they have been part of outside of school and questions about their status and nationality and immigration status of their family members,” said Felarca. “And that’s not just illegal, it’s discriminatory. It’s immoral.”
Felarca, a Filipino-American teacher at Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School in Berkeley, California, was one of those injured in a clash last June at the state capitol as she demonstrated against neo-Nazis.
Berkeley Unified School District placed Felarca on administrative leave after King middle school was threatened by critics who demanded she be fired.
Felarca returned to the classroom after six weeks on paid leave.
Felarca, who is an active member of a group called “By Any Means Necessary” (BAMN) which defends affirmative action, public education, and immigrant rights, says the rise of hate crimes and growing presence of hate groups is in part of the rhetoric of the presidential campaign of Donald Trump.
“They don’t just have a lynch mob mentality they are trying to build lynch mobs to target and murder immigrants, Filipinos, black people, lesbians, and gay men, people who are trans or bi-sexual,” said Felarca.
Felarca says that mass action is necessary to defeat these hate groups and defend the most vulnerable namely undocumented students.
“I know that the president has a lot of power to issues federal pardons,” said Felarca. “So to grant federal amnesty for all the young people who registered under DACA there’s something like 740,000 in the country every single one of those young people need to be protected now.
Following a Wednesday school board meeting the Berkeley Unified School District may adopt a policy that would make the campuses sanctuaries for undocumented and immigrant students.