A federal appeals court has ordered a lower court to reconsider its issuance of a preliminary injunction that barred the New York state education department from enforcing an emergency regulation against the use of "aversive interventions" for children with disabilities. The aversive therapies at the school at the center of the case include "skin shocks, 'contingent' food programs, and physical restraints," says the opinion by a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit, in New York City. The Judge Rotenberg Educational Center is in Canton, Mass., but it has served hundreds of students from ...


Public school officials may restrict speech disparaging homosexuality, a federal district judge has ruled. The Feb. 12 decision is the latest in a long-running case stemming from an incident in which a California high school student wore a T-shirt with hand-lettered messages that said, “Homosexuality is shameful. Romans 1:21,” and “Be ashamed." "In this court’s view, a school’s interest in protecting homosexual students from harassment is a legitimate pedagogical concern that allows a school to restrict speech expressing damaging statements about sexual orientation and limiting students to expressing their views in a positive manner," said the ruling ...


A federal appeals court has upheld a district court's finding that the Madison County, Miss., school district had achieved unitary status and thus could be released from decades of court supervision for its desegregation efforts. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, in New Orleans, ruled unanimously on Feb. 11 in Anderson v. School Board of Madison County that the 11,000-student school system had "eliminated the vestiges of its former de jure segregated school system to the extent practicable." In 2005, at the time the district court was considering the Madison County ...


A federal appeals court today rejected a lawsuit by two Illinois school districts and four families that said the No Child Left Behind Act was in conflict with the main federal special education law. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, in Chicago, ruled unanimously in Board of Education of Ottawa Township High School District 140 v. Spellings that the "plaintiffs' claim is too weak to justify continued litigation." The Ottawa high school district, along with Ottawa Elementary School District 141 and the parents of four students in special education, had sued in ...


U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen G. Breyer told a conference in Hawaii that he and his fellow justices struggle so much with affirmative action cases because the nation holds two deeply ingrained but opposing views on the topic, according to this report in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin. I noted in this post the other day that Justice Breyer planned to attend the symposium at the University of Hawaii law school on the Kamehameha Schools' policy of giving admissions preferences to Native Hawaiians. The Star-Bulletin notes that Justice Breyer "made it clear that he would not talk about the specifics of ...


I've heard about many states where school districts have sued their state over school finance formulas and the like. I had never heard of school districts suing their state supreme court, until now. The Idaho Statesman reports today that U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill of Boise has allowed a lawsuit filed by school districts against their state's highest court to proceed to trial. The districts sued the state high court after it ruled in 2005 that Idaho's school finance system was unconstitutional, but then allegedly refused to require the state to come up with a remedy. The federal ...


The federal government has filed its request for reconsideration of a federal appeals court ruling that revived a major challenge to the No Child Left Behind Act as an unfunded federal mandate. Lawyers filed papers on behalf of Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings asking the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, in Cincinnati, to reconsider last month's decision by a three-judge panel of the court in Pontiac School District v. Spellings. The secretary had announced late last week that such a request was coming. The 6th Circuit court panel ruled 2-1 on Jan. 7 that the ...


Two upcoming events in two distinctly different areas of the country will involve discussions on race and education. On Thursday, Feb. 7, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen G. Breyer will participate in a symposium in Hawaii that examines a legal challenge to the Kamehameha Schools' policy of giving admissions preferences to Native Hawaiians, the Honolulu Star-Bulletin reports. The private school, which enrolls 6,550 students on three campuses in Hawaii, last year settled a lawsuit brought on behalf of a white student who was denied admission to the school. The Kamehameha Schools had won a ruling in the U.S....


U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings announced today that the Bush administration will appeal a court ruling that revived a lawsuit which contends the No Child Left Behind Act is an unfunded federal mandate. Spellings said that U.S. Solicitor General Paul D. Clement, who is the top appellate lawyer in the Department of Justice, has authorized an appeal asking that the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, in Cincinnati, rehear the case of Pontiac School District v. Spellings. A panel of the 6th Circuit court ruled 2-1 on Jan. 7 that the states were ...


A federal appeals court today ruled against two Massachusetts families who objected to their children being exposed in public school to books and discussions promoting tolerance for gay marriage and families led by same-sex couples. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit, in Boston, ruled unanimously that the Lexington, Mass., school system did not violate the rights of the parents or children by exposing them to books that they found objectionable on religious grounds. One family objected to their child being presented in kindergarten and 1st grade with two books that portrayed diverse ...


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