Judge Affirms School District’s Anti-Bullying Efforts


Judge Cynthia A. Bashant of the Southern District issued an order denying a preliminary injunction requested by a San Diego group who sued the San Diego Unified School District to challenge its anti-bullying program. The program was originally developed to address a rise in Islamophobia.

“[The order] is a helpful guidepost for others who are trying to take meaningful productive steps to protect students in their schools, whether they’re targeted for race, gender, sexual orientation or something else,” said partner Moez Kaba in an article for the Daily Journal.

Hueston Hennigan attorneys Moez Kaba and Adam Olin represented the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) on a pro bono basis and filed an amicus brief, arguing in favor of the anti-Islamophobia initiative in an effort to reduce the bullying of Muslim students.

As explained in the Daily Journal, the court’s “ruling relied heavily on an amicus brief filed by Hueston Hennigan LLP attorneys representing CAIR, including its explanation of the First Amendment Establishment Clause and its discussion of the benefits of anti-bullying efforts.”

The school district worked with CAIR to develop and support the initiative. A group sued San Diego, arguing that the initiative and in particular the partnership with CAIR violated the First Amendment and various other laws. The plaintiffs sought a preliminary injunction against the school district. 

The Daily Journal covered both the filing and the order. “Judge confirms constitutionality of San Diego anti-bullying program,” (September 27, 2018). “In suit, parents claim school’s Islamophobia program unconstitutional,” (July 23, 2018).