Albemarle County School Board in court against Alliance for Defending Freedom
RICHMOND, Va. (CBS19 NEWS) -- The conservative nonprofit Alliance for Defending Freedom and the Albemarle County School Board appeared before the Virginia Court of Appeals in Richmond on Tuesday, continuing the battle over a case involving an anti-racism pilot program.
At issue, says ADF lawyer Vincent Wagner, is whether the school district is forcing a student "to say racially stereotyped things and act accordingly, and that's what's going on here."
The case started in 2019 when Albemarle started the program at Henley Middle School.
The lawyer for the Albemarle County School Board, Jeremy Capps, told the court that the program the plaintiffs took issue with is over, and they don't have the standing to show any students were damaged afterward.
He said that, along with the fact that the Albemarle County Circuit Court already dismissed the case with prejudice last year, makes the case for dismissal.
But Wagner said the policy is woven through the curriculum.
"It's based on books like ‘Letting Go of Literary Whiteness: Anti-Racist Literature Instruction for White Students’ or ‘Courageous Conversations About Race,'" Wagner said.
In the courtroom, the plaintiff's side said students are forced to comply with the policy and are punished if they don't, as he illustrated with a story about one particular boy.
"He was voicing his view, a traditional view of marriage and sexuality. It was a literature classroom, in response to what the class was reading. He was basically bullied in the classroom. After the fact a student followed up with him by email and further bullied him, telling him he needs to drop these backwards views,” he said.
Capps said precedent proved the harm the plaintiffs allege isn't enough.
The panel of judges should rule on whether the case is dismissed on appeal or moves forward in the next couple of months.
The case in question is Ibañez v. Albemarle County School Board.