Kirkland & Ellis LLP secured a preliminary injunction on behalf of a group of parents of McKinley Elementary School students against Compton Unified School District (CUSD). On March 21, 2011, the Los Angeles Superior Court issued a preliminary injunction enjoining the district from requiring parents who had signed the historic Parent Trigger petition to be required by CUSD to reaffirm in person with government-issued photo identification to verify their signatures, as well as ordering CUSD to verify by April 1st, the petition signatures that CUSD previously stated were defective.
The parents have been seeking to transform the failing McKinley Elementary School in the district — where fewer than 3 percent of students will graduate with eligibility to enter California public universities — into a charter school since December 7, 2010, but have been met with strong resistance from the CUSD.
The court agreed with a ruling last month that granted a temporary restraining order on the basis that the CUSD's proposed verification procedure violated the parents' First Amendment right to petition the government. At the hearing, the judge noted that the courts examine closely government action that appears to restrict protected constitutional rights, such as the district's proposed verification procedure.
"The parents are grateful for the court's ruling and are pleased that they can move forward with their petition to transform McKinely Elementary," said Mark Holscher of Kirkland & Ellis, one of the lead attorneys representing the parents.
"I'm relieved and excited about this decision. We have been saying all along this is what we want. Finally our voices will matter and our signatures will be counted. This is my constitutional right and the district should not have tried to take that away," said Ismenia Guzman.
Kirkland has been representing, on a pro bono basis, the parent group in their historic effort to transform McKinley Elementary in the CUSD under California's Parent Trigger law. Earlier this month Kirkland secured a temporary restraining order on behalf of the parents that prevented the CUSD from requiring the parents to appear in person with government-issued photo identification to verify their petition signatures, which would have resulted in a face-to-face confrontation between the parents and CUSD.
Kirkland & Ellis LLP (www.kirkland.com) is a 1,500-attorney law firm representing global clients in complex litigation and dispute resolution/arbitration, corporate and tax, restructuring, and intellectual property and technology matters. The Firm has offices in Los Angeles, Chicago, Hong Kong, London, Munich, New York, Palo Alto, San Francisco, Shanghai and Washington, D.C.