Benitez v. Montoya

Landmark Case
May 18, 2005

The New Haven Unified School District and the City of Union City have each reached groundbreaking settlements with students in Union City as a result of a federal lawsuit brought by the ACLU Foundation of Northern California on behalf of three high school students whose civil rights were violated. On February 22, 2002 the three were rounded up along with a group of mostly Latino and Asian students at James Logan High School for a so-called “gang intervention” meeting. The lawsuit, Benitez v. Montoya, was filed on January 30, 2003 in the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of California.

The incident occurred when James Logan High School officials, along with police officers from Union City and the City of Fremont, rounded up close to 60 students during lunch hour and ordered them to go to separate classrooms based upon their race or ethnicity. Once there, police officers and school administrators ringed the classroom. The students were searched, interrogated, and photographed. The police then took the photographs and information they had collected back to the police station.

“The far-reaching new policies put into place by this settlement will ensure that the events of February 22, 2002 will never happen again at James Logan High School,” said ACLU Foundation of Northern California staff attorney Ann Brick. “These policies are designed to ensure that schools and the police will respond to concerns about gang problems by focusing on conduct, not by erroneously labeling students based on their race or ethnicity or on how they dress or on who their friends are.” Read more »

The Union City School District agrees to destroy all records collected in a "gang" sweep, and end racial profiling of students.

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