LAUSD Backs Off Request for Immigration Status of Miramonte Victims

Attorneys representing the Los Angeles Unified School district in the civil case revolving around victims of alleged sexual abuse at Miramonte Elementary School withdrew their request that the judge consider the victims' immigration status at trial.

Plaintiffs' attorneys in the case had made two requests previously. Attorney Luis Carrillo filed a motion on June 3 to preclude evidence of plaintiff's immigration status, and a similar motion was filed by attorney John Manly on Sept. 26.

In the district's response on Oct. 7, Attorney Alison Beanum made the argument that California law allows for immigration status to be considered when a jury discusses damages for future potential loss of earnings or wages.

At that time, a statement from Sean Rossall, an independent public relations spokesman hired by attorneys representing LAUSD to handle all Miramonte-related media inquiries, said, "Lawyers for the school district have an ethical obligation to preserve our right to present a complete story to a jury, protect taxpayer dollars and safeguard educational resources for the more than 600,000 students served by Los Angeles Unified."

Rossall said attorneys had not planned to discuss immigration status unless the plaintiffs brought it up first.

Now the district's stance has changed. Rossall says the latest filing by LAUSD attorneys reaffirms the district's position that it had no intent of raising immigration status unless it was brought up by plaintiffs' counsel.

"Los Angeles Unified School District has been a consistent leader in defending the rights of students to a quality education, regardless of immigration status," Rossall said in a statement. "Earlier this year, the school board took a strong and unanimous position to encourage federal immigration reform and to add stronger protections for unaccompanied and undocumented minors.

"Furthermore, the school district has a long track record of leadership in expanding English learning programs, publicly denouncing laws that discriminate based on legal status and ensuring that children who have been sent into the U.S. without their parents have access to the quality education every child deserves.

"This includes opening our classrooms to thousands of children who have crossed the border from Central and South America this year. It has been our consistent position that immigration status is neither an issue that should be a part of this litigation, nor is it an issue that we sought to bring up."

The civil case is set to begin on Nov. 4. As of now, NBC4 has been denied camera access to the proceedings.

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