This almost seems made up, but it's not. A federal appeals court has upheld the dismissal of a Texas man's lawsuit alleging that a school district wrongly refused to hire him despite his 13 felony convictions. The applicant, James J. Crook, was a lawyer who was convicted of barratry, which my legal dictionary defines as the crime of instigating groundless judicial proceedings. After losing his license to practice law, Crook got a job as a substitute teacher in the El Paso, Texas, school district, according to court papers. His suit said he applied multiple times for a permanent position as ...


It's been a little quiet on the school law front the last couple of days, but here are a few tidbits: IDEA Expert Witnesses: Over at her On Special Education blog, my Education Week colleague Christina A. Samuels has this report on the IDEA Fairness Restoration Act, a bill introduced in Congress that is designed to reverse the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling in Arlington Central School District v. Murphy. The bill would amend the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act to allow the prevailing party in an IDEA suit to recover the costs of expert witnesses. Indiana School Finance: Over ...


Sen. John McCain of Arizona, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, gave a speech today at Wake Forest University designed to outline his judicial views in which he cited a famous legal challenge to the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance in schools. The campaign put out this press release, as well as the text of his remarks. He says that if given the opportunity, he will appoint U.S. Supreme Court justices in the mold of Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. McCain cited cases in which he thinks courts have run amok by ...


A federal appeals court today agreed to re-examine a ruling by a panel of the court that revived a lawsuit challenging the No Child Left Behind Act for imposing unfunded mandates on states and school districts. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, in Cincinnati, announced that the entire 14-member court would rehear the case of Pontiac School District v. Spellings. The court's brief order is here. The rehearing was sought by Bush administration lawyers on behalf of Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings after a three-judge panel of the 6th Circuit ruled on Jan. 7 that the ...


A federal appeals court has rejected a constitutional challenge to a federal law that restricts, and in some cases bars, students with drug convictions from participation in federal college aid programs. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit, in St. Louis, ruled in Students for Sensible Drug Policy Foundation v. Spellings that the controversial sanctions do not violate the double-jeopardy clause of the 5th Amendment. The student group argued that the primary purpose of the law is deterrence of criminal action, so the secondary sanction on those convicted of drug crimes is form ...


A federal district judge has ruled against the state of Connecticut in its lawsuit against U.S. Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings over the administration of the No Child Left Behind Act. U.S. District Judge Mark R. Kravitz of New Haven, Conn., issued a decision Monday rejecting the last of the state's claims. The judge had dismissed other claims in the suit in 2006. Judge Kravitz turned away Connecticut's efforts to have the federal court overturn Secretary Spellings' administrative decision turning down the state's request seeking greater flexibility in testing students in special education and English-language learners under the ...


The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled 6-3 that random searches by drug-sniffing dogs in schools violate students' right to privacy. In Her Majesty the Queen v. A.M. , the nation's top court upheld two lower courts that had thrown out drug-possession charges of a student whose backpack had been searched after a police dog alerted to it and the police found marijuana and mushrooms. The principal of St. Patrick School in Sarnia, Ontario, had invited police to conduct the warrantless search. Students were kept in their classrooms while the dog sniffed their backpacks. The majority on the Supreme Court ...


Today we deal with Truth, justice, and the Connecticut way: Equal Access Act: A federal appeals court ruled today that a Washington state school district did not violate the federal Equal Access Act or the First Amendment by denying recognition to a student Bible club because the club's charter conflicted with the district's non-discrimination policy. However, because there were questions about whether the district violated the group's rights by refusing to exempt it from the policy based either on its religion or the content of its speech, the court reversed a summary judgment order in favor of the school district ...


A federal appeals court has ordered that an Illinois student be allowed to wear a T-shirt that says "Be Happy, Not Gay" to protest the annual Day of Silence in support of gay students. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit, in Chicago, unanimously rejected arguments from the Indian Prairie school district in suburban Chicago that it should be able to bar a student from wearing the shirt on the school day after the Day of Silence because it would be derogatory and offensive to some students. " 'Be Happy, Not Gay' is only ...


A New York state appeals court upheld the New York City school system's controversial rules prohibiting students from carrying cell phones in schools, the Associated Press reports. The ruling in Price v. New York City Board of Education comes from the New York State Supreme Court, Appellate Division. Keep in mind that in New York, the Supreme Court is the trial court level, the Supreme Court Appellate Division is the intermediate appeals court, and the Court of Appeals is the state's highest court. "Ultimately, while the parents present cogent reasons why they would like their children to carry cell phones ...


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