Saturday, January 30, 2021

Christian Student Group May Move Ahead With Damage Claim For School's Derecognition

In Roe v. San Jose Unified School District Board, 2021 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 16633 (ND CA, Jan. 28, 2021), a California federal district court, while dismissing a number of plaintiffs' claims, permitted the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) to move ahead on an "as applied" challenge to the school district's nondiscrimination policies. Plaintiffs allege that schools used those policies as a pretext to revoke recognition of student FCA chapters because of their religious beliefs and their speech. At issue is FCA's Sexual Purity Policy that requires FCA leaders to resign their positions if they engage in extramarital sex or homosexual acts. The court held that claims of the individual plaintiffs should be dismissed because they cannot proceed under pseudonyms. It held that individual plaintiffs' claims for prospective relief are moot because they have graduated, and that FCA failed to plead organizational standing for prospective relief. It concluded, however, that claims for damages against defendants in their personal capacities (but not their official capacities) survive a motion to dismiss.