A federal appeals court says an Illinois family offered "absolutely no evidence to support their theory" that they faced retaliation for the parents raising concerns about their daughter's treatment by the high school softball coach. In fact, the panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, in Chicago, ordered the parents to explain why they shouldn't be held responsible for the attorneys' fees of the defendants, which included the softball coach and principal of Morton Community High School, and the superintendent and school board members of Morton Community Unit School District 709 in suburban Chicago. The ...


A public college in California has fired a math teacher after six weeks on the job because she altered her mandatory state Oath of Allegiance form, the San Francisco Chronicle is reporting. California State University-East Bay took the action against Marianne Kearney-Brown, a Quaker graduate student who was teaching remedial math on the campus, because she inserted the word "nonviolently" in front of the oath's language calling on her to swear or affirm that she would "support and defend" the state and U.S. constitutions "against all enemies, foreign and domestic," the newspaper reports. The oath is required of all ...


Over at the Edjurist Accord, Justin Bathon has been the first to tip me off to a potential scandal involving school lawyers in New York state. As the blog notes, Newsday has reported that one lawyer was listed as a full-time employee of five different school districts at the same time, allegedly accruing extensive state pension benefits when he in fact worked only part time for the districts as a private attorney. The lawyer, Lawrence Reich, has denied through his attorneys doing anything wrong or illegal and has suggested that the practice was widespread, Newsday reports. New York State Attorney ...


A federal appeals court today refused to allow the Missouri Charter Public School Association to intervene in the long-running desegregation lawsuit involving the Kansas City, Mo., school district. "The MCPSA sought to intervene nearly thirty years after the filing of suit, three years after final judgment was entered in the suit, four months after the motion for enforcement of judgments was filed, and eight days after the District Court entered judgment on the motion for enforcement of judgments," said the opinion for a unanimous three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit, in St. Louis. "Intervention...


A federal appeals court has sided against a Maine parent's request to be reimbursed by a school district for several years worth of room, board, and travel expenses stemming from her son's enrollment in three out-of-state schools under a special education plan. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit, in Boston, held in a Feb. 27 opinion that the school district "was under no affirmative obligation to bring to a head the issue of whether or not it should be responsible for non-tuition expenses." At stake in School Union No. 37 v. Ms. ...


My colleague David Hoff reports here in his NCLB: Act II blog that a coalition of civil rights groups has filed a friend-of-the-court brief urging a federal appeals court to reconsider its ruling that revived a major challenge to the No Child Left Behind Act as an unfunded federal mandate. The groups are joining the side of U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings, who earlier this month asked the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, in Cincinnati, to reconsider a ruling by a three-judge panel of the court in Pontiac School District v. Spellings. The ...


The U.S. Supreme Court today declined to hear appeals in two cases involving school districts. In the first, a Georgia father was seeking the justices' review of a case in which he alleges school officials ignored repeated complaints and warnings that a 5th grade teacher was sexually abusing young female students. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, in Atlanta, ruled last year that a school principal and assistant principal were immune from the suit, and that the White County, Ga., school district was not liable under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 because ...


A federal appeals court has ruled that Arizona must comply with a lower-court ruling that says the state must do more to adequately fund instruction for English-language learners. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, in San Francisco, issued its unanimous 91-page ruling late on Feb. 22 in Flores v. State of Arizona. The Associated Press reports on the decision here, and my Education Week colleague Mary Ann Zehr discusses the ruling in her Learning the Language blog here. Much of the ruling deals with the lengthy history of the lawsuit by families ...


In a significant decision in the security-conscious, post-Columbine era, a federal appeals court ruled today that video surveillance cameras installed in a middle school's locker rooms violate the Fourth Amendment privacy rights of students. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, in Cincinnati, ruled unanimously that students have a heightened expectation of privacy in areas of a school designated for them to change clothes. In its opinion in Brannum v. Overton County School Board, the court said: Given the universal understanding among middle school age children in this country that a school locker ...


The U.S. Supreme Court today declined to hear the appeal of a California school district in a controversy over a high school student's provocative newspaper editorial on immigration. The essay by Andrew D. Smith, who was a senior at Novato High School in 2001-02, was in the school's newspaper, The Buzz. The essay, which appeared Nov. 13, 2001, was titled "Immigration" and included several provocative assertions about Hispanics and immigrants, including: -- "I'll even bet that if I took a stroll through the Canal district in San Rafael that I would find a lot of people that would answer ...


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