The U.S. Supreme Court today declined the appeals of an assistant principal and a sheriff's department stemming from a lawsuit that challenged their handling of a graphic abortion display near a California middle school. The justices declined without comment to review a federal appeals court ruling that the assistant principal and sheriff's deputies violated the First Amendment rights of members of an anti-abortion group by ordering them to stop driving a truck displaying large, graphic images of aborted fetuses around Dodson Middle School in Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif. The suit stems from a March 24, 2003, incident when a ...


The U.S. Supreme Court today agreed to step into a long-running lawsuit in Arizona over funding for services to English-language learners. The justices accepted appeals from legislative leaders and the state superintendent of lower-court rulings that Arizona was not adequately funding ELL programs under federal law. A federal judge has ordered the state legislature to increase funding for such programs or else face fines of as much as $2 million per day. “Arizona needs this court’s help to return control over the funding of Arizona’s school programs to here it rightly belongs—out of the hands of ...


Today is the anniversary of the launch of The School Law Blog. It was an auspicious day on Jan. 7, 2008, because a federal appeals court issued a major ruling about the No Child Behind Act that day, just the kind of big school law news I was hoping for. My blog post about the NCLB ruling from that day is here, and the latest post on that case, which was reheard en banc last month by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, is here. Meanwhile, Education Week is releasing its annual Quality Counts report today, ...


A federal appeals court today revived a Title IX lawsuit alleging that administrators of a Michigan school district were deliberately indifferent to a years-long pattern of sexual harassment against a male student by his peers. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, in Cincinnati, ruled 2-1 to restore the suit against the Hudson, Mich., area school district and Superintendent Kathy Malnar, overturning a summary judgment in their favor by a federal district court. The majority in Patterson v. Hudson Area Schools said a jury should be given the chance to decide whether the ...


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 ...


I've been kind of busy with the announcement of Arne Duncan as secretary of education and other things, but here are some school law developments from the past few days: St. Louis Intervention: The Missouri Supreme Court has upheld the state's intervention in the St. Louis school district. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports here, and the court's ruling is here. MyTeacherSpace: A federal district court has ruled that a Pennsylvania school district did not violate the First Amendment rights of a student teacher when it barred her from continuing to teach because of a posting on her MySpace page. The ...


This is turning out to be a big week for education in the federal appeals courts, at least as far as cases coming up for oral arguments. Yesterday, I was in Cincinnati to cover arguments before the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit about a challenge to the No Child Left Behind Act. See my blog post here and a story on Edweek's site. (Yes, they are pretty much the same.) Meanwhile, in Philadelphia, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit was hearing arguments yesterday in an important case ...


The educational and fiscal ramifications of the federal No Child Left Behind Act came under legal review today in an ornate federal appeals courtroom here in Cincinnati. Of course, only a legal question was at issue before the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit: whether a group of school districts backed by the National Education Association has a case in challenging the federal education law as an unfunded mandate. “States and school districts are prisoners of this law,” Robert H. Chanin, the general counsel of the NEA, told 14 of the appeals court’s 16 active ...


The full U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, in Cincinnati, hears arguments Wednesday in a major legal challenge to the No Child Left Behind Act. The court will consider a lawsuit backed by the National Education Association that argues the federal education law imposes unfunded mandates on states and school districts in conflict with its own language. A three-judge panel of the 6th Circuit court ruled 2-1 on Jan. 7 that the states were not on clear notice of their potential financial obligations when they agreed to accept federal funding under the No Child Left Behind law. ...


The U.S. Supreme Court today declined to hear an appeal on behalf of a Michigan student who sought to distribute Christian messages to his fellow public school students as part of a school assignment. The justices refused to review the appeal by the parents of Joel Curry, who was a 5th grader in 2003 when he sought to distribute candy-cane shaped Christmas ornaments as part of a class assignment on marketing a product. School officials approved his product, but the student then added a booklet to each ornament conveying Christian meanings about the candy cane, such as that the ...


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