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Post-Holiday Roundup: Tuition, Journalism, and Drug Testing

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The holidays are over and it's time to catch up with some school law developments of recent days:

In-State Tuition for Immigrants: The California Supreme Court will take up a case involving a challenge to a state law that permits undocumented immigrants to pay in-state tuition rates at public colleges and universities, the Los Angeles Times reports.

The challenge was brought by out-of-state students who pay more than triple what in-state students pay at University of California and California State campuses, the paper reports.

Under the 2001 state law, "illegal immigrant students qualify for in-state rates if they attended a California high school for three years, graduated here and signed an affidavit saying they will apply for permanent residency as soon as they are eligible," the Times says.

After some digging, I found the ruling below that will be reviewed by the state high court. It is this Sept. 15, 2008, decision by the California Court of Appeal in Martinez v. Regents of the University of California, which revived the lawsuit by the out-of-state residents.

Protection for High School Journalism Advisers: A new law has taken effect in California that prohibits school administrators from retaliating against advisers who seek to protect student press freedoms, the Los Angeles Times reports.

The Times quotes the legal counsel of the California Newspaper Publishers Association as saying that in the past three years, 15 high school journalism advisers have lost their jobs or been reassigned by administrators who perceived stories in student publications as critical of their schools.

Teacher Drug Testing: A federal district judge has issued a temporary injunction barring a West Virginia school district from implementing a program of random drug-testing of teachers and other school employees.

U.S. District Judge Joseph R. Goodwin said the drug-testing program of the Kanawha County school system was likely in violation of the 4th Amendment's prohibition against unreasonable searches, according to stories in the Charleston Gazette here and the Associated Press here. (If Judge Goodwin issued a written opinion, I can't seem to find it online.)

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The tuition for illegal/undocumented immigrants is going to be a powder keg in California. California seems to find issues like this and tears itself apart deciding how to move forward.

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