A civil rights lawsuit filed in federal court this week charges that schools in the state discriminate in their portrayal of Hinduism.
The California Parents for the Equalization of Educational Materials, also known as CAPEEM, and three Bay Area residents filed the lawsuit to challenge California’s history-social science curriculum. They say the curriculum appears to highlight the positive aspects of other religions, such as Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism and Confucianism, but does not provide the same treatment of Hinduism.
The lawsuit was filed against the state Department of Education, state Board of Education and several school districts throughout the Bay Area. It also names the San Ramon Valley, Cupertino, Milpitas and San Francisco school districts, at which the CAPEEN has members with children attending.
The state board’s adopted curriculum devotes almost half the discussion of Hinduism to the caste system, he said. But for every other religion, the board has followed a policy of refusing to include negative examples that would instill prejudice, he alleged. For instance, there is no mention of negative interpretations of Christianity that supported slavery or condemned same-sex relationships, he said.
“Hinduism is portrayed from a critical perspective, so I guess really what we’re asking for, is just be consistent,” he said.
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