OCR Complaint: Santa Cruz County Office of Education & Pajaro Valley School District

OCR Complaints

On January 31, 2023, Parents Defending Education (PDE) filed a federal civil rights complaint with the U.S. Department of Education against Santa Cruz County Office of Education and Pajaro Valley School District in Santa Cruz, California for discrimination on the basis of race, color or national origin in programs or activities that receive Federal financial assistance in violation of both Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VI), 42 U.S.C. § 2000d et seq., and the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

PDE makes this complaint as an interested third-party organization that opposes racial discrimination and political indoctrination in America’s schools. Attached to this complaint is supporting evidence in the form of the district’s Events page on their website (Exhibit A), which promotes the district’s “Ethnic Studies Teacher of Color Circle,”1 and registration form “Ethnic Studies Registration Options for 22-23” (Exhibit B).

This exhibit reveals that Santa Cruz County Office of Education’s “Ethnic Studies Teacher of Color Circle” is only open to staff of specific ethnicities (“This ES-TOCC will be made up of teachers who identify as teachers of color, who are currently teaching Ethnic Studies or would like to teach Ethnic Studies in Santa Cruz County”). The program description does not make participation in this affinity group open to all.

Accordingly, we ask that the Department promptly investigate the allegations in this complaint, act swiftly to remedy unlawful policies and practices, and order appropriate relief.