'It's disgusting': California educator sues teachers union alleging racial discrimination

SACRAMENTO, CA - A California history teacher has launched a lawsuit against his union alleging that the labor organization discriminated against him based on the color of his skin. What makes Isaac Newman's allegations unusual is that he is seeking relief under Title VII civil rights law contending that the Elk Grove Education Association will not allow him to run for a seat on its Executive Board, because he is white.

As reported by Fox News, the union, which is affiliated with the National Education Association, created a new seat on its Executive Board. The trouble arises from the eligibility requirements for any candidate: Whites need not apply. The seat is only available to candidates of color, thus excluding Mr. Newman.
According to Newman's lawsuit, obtained by Fox, "The Elk Grove Education Association ('EGEA' or the 'Union), which represents teachers and other certificated employees of the Elk Grove Unified School District ('District') in Sacramento, California, recently created a position called the 'BIPOC At-Large Director' on its executive board ('BIPOC Position'). 3. This position comes with all the rights and privileges of being an EGEA board member, but under EGEA’s bylaws, only persons who 'self-identify' as 'African American (Black), Native American, Alaska Native, Native Hawai’ian, Pacific Islander, Latino (including Puerto Rican), Asian, Arab, and Middle Eastern,' can run for the position."

Speaking with Fox News, Newman explained, "My union barred me from a leadership position simply because of the color of my skin. I'm prohibited from running for a leadership position simply because of my race. This kind of racial litmus test is illegal, and it's un-American, and that's why I'm taking them to court."

He added, "It's disgusting, and that's why I'm suing,"

"I'm actually really frightened for my children," he told the outlet, "when we look to a future where people are being taught [critical race theory]."

"The message there is that as a white teacher in a district that is very diverse, my students can't learn from me," he said. "It's abhorrent, and it's flatly wrong."

In the text of the lawsuit, Newman's attorneys laid out that he has been a staunch advocate against DEI or "Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion" policies, writing, "As a longtime educator with the District, Newman is disturbed by its recent adoption of various DEI practices that he believes distract from the District’s core function of educating students. Newman believes EGEA has supported and contributed significantly to these DEI efforts and has accordingly lost sight of its primary role as an advocate for teachers."

They further explained his motivation in running for the seat, stating, "To have a voice in these policy shifts by both the District and EGEA, Newman sought to run for the BIPOC position in the December 2023 special election," later explaining that he was "prohibited from submitting his name as a candidate because he was unwilling to falsely affirm that he identifies as a member of the BIPOC categories, as required by the Nomination Form."

"Plaintiff Isaac Newman is a white [EGEA] member who wants to run for union office to address the District’s recent adoption of what he believes to be aggressive and unnecessary Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) policies," the lawsuit states.

Newman through his lawsuit is asking the court to "declare the BIPOC Position unlawful" and prohibit the teachers union "from creating any similar positions in the future where candidate eligibility is, in whole or in part, based on race." 

Newman is being represented by The Fairness Center, a legal advocacy group with the mission of representing "those hurt by public-sector union officials."
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