California Court Upholds Claim of Hindu American Foundation Regarding Illegal Process, but Retains Textbooks

September 1, 2006

Source: Hindu American Foundation press release

On September 1, 2006 a Hindu American Foundation press release reported, "The Hindu American Foundation (HAF) prevailed today in its legal action on behalf of Hindu parents from California against the California School Board of Education (SBE). But in a mixed ruling, the demand by HAF that the SBE be required to throw out the currently approved textbooks and revisit the entire textbook adoption process was denied. HAF brought the lawsuit contending that the procedure through which the SBE reviewed and approved revisions in sixth grade textbooks, especially as to their presentation of Hinduism, was not conducted under regulations required under the California Administrative Procedures Act and contravened the Bagley-Keene Open Meeting Act. As a result, HAF held, anti-Hindu academics were illegally allowed to bias the process against Hindu parents and students in California resulting in textbooks that presented the debunked Aryan Migration Theory as fact, misrepresented caste as central to Hinduism and left the impression that Hinduism devalued the role of women. In his ruling on Hindu American Foundation, et al., v. California State Board of Education, et al, Case No. 06 CS 00386, Judge Patrick Marlette of the California Superior Court upheld HAF’s claim that the textbook adoption process was flawed and illegal. Judge Marlette wrote that the California SBE, 'at all times relevant to this matter has been conducting its textbook approval process under invalid "underground regulations."' He withheld an opinion on the violation of the open meeting act deciding that since the entire process was already 'invalid' a specific ruling would be redundant. In his conflicted ruling, however, Judge Marlette ruled that the 'relief' demanded by HAF—that is to reject the textbooks adopted under an illegal process—would be disruptive not only to those affected sixth graders, but potentially every California public school student using any and every textbooks adopted under the SBE’s unlawful policies. Judge Marlette wrote, 'The Court therefore determines...that respondent [SBE] should be permitted a reasonable opportunity to correct the deficiencies in its regulatory framework governing the textbook approval process...while maintaining the current system in the interim'... [However ,]Judge Marlette held that the textbooks were not necessarily illegal in terms of the standards set forth by the education code because they were not 'grossly inaccurate.'"