A real hodge-podge at the end of the week: Age-Discrimination Case Granted: The U.S. Supreme Court today granted review of a case with implications for standards of proof in certain job-discrimination cases. In Gross v. FBL Financial Services Inc. (Case No. 08-441), the justices will examine whether plaintiffs in non-Title VII cases must present direct evidence of job bias to get a jury instruction for a so-called mixed motive liability standard. Such a standard, which applies when there are legitimate and illegitimate reasons for an adverse job action, generally makes it easier for a plaintiff to prevail. The court ...


The U.S. Supreme Court took up arguments today in a case that will determine whether Title IX is the exlusive remedy for claims of sex discrimination in education. That much we knew going into Fitzgerald v. Barnstable School Committee (Case No. 07-1125). We don't know that much more about how the case will turn out after the hourlong arguments, much of which were bogged down by threshold questions about whether the court granted the right case to decide the issue. While three or four of the justices were actively engaged in the argument, several normally active questioners, including Justices ...


The U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments on Tuesday in a case that will determine whether Title IX provides the exclusive legal remedy for claims of sex discrimination against schools. The appeal in Fitzgerald v. Barnstable School Committee (Case No. 07-1125) is being watched closely by civil rights groups, on one side, and school groups on the other. The question is whether Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in federally funded education programs, precludes victims from also suing under a broader federal civil rights law known as Section 1983. That ...


A federal appeals court today revived part of a lawsuit that challenges a Tennessee school district's decision to contract out its alternative education program to a private Christian school. A panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, in Cincinnati, voted 2-1 to revive the suit challenging the Jefferson County, Tenn., school board's decision to use the religious school as a violation of the First Amendment's prohibition against government establishment of religion. The majority in Smith v. Jefferson County School Board said there was a genuine issue of material fact as to whether the day program ...


The federal No Child Left Behind Act does not provide a private right to sue over its parental-notice and tutoring provisions, a federal appeals court has ruled. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit, in Philadelphia, ruled unanimously on Nov. 20 in a case brought by a parents' group in Newark, N.J. "The overall structure of the act supports the conclusion that Congress did not intend to confer enforceable individual rights" under the parental-notice and supplemental education services provisions, the court said in Newark Parents Association v. Newark Public Schools. The court ...


San Antonio—Where do you get your information about school law? That’s a question two scholars here at the Education Law Association meeting asked in a survey of school lawyers, professors who teach school law, and others. The survey by Justin M. Bathon, an assistant professor of educational leadership at the University of Kentucky, and Kevin P. Brady, an assistant professor in the same field at North Carolina State University, was based on a small sample. Still, there were interesting findings. Legal textbooks were the most cited category of resource for school law information, following by Internet-based searches, case ...


San Antonio—On-the-job speech by teachers and other public school employees is getting less protection in the courts. That’s the conclusion of two scholars presenting here at the annual meeting of the Education Law Association. The Dayton, Ohio-based group is made up of K-12 educators, school lawyers, and many professors who teach school law as part of educational leadership programs. Richard T. Geisel, an assistant professor of educational leadership at Grand Valley State University in Grand Rapids, Mich.; and Brenda R. Kallio, an associate professor in that discipline at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, analyzed recent ...


It's not often that school districts are involved in lawsuits under the federal Clean Air Act. But a California district has been, although without success in its efforts to use the federal law to halt the construction of a power plant near one of its schools. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, in San Francisco, ruled unanimously today to uphold the dismissal of a suit filed by the Romoland school district against a power company and the South Coast Air Quality Management District. The school district in Riverside County, Calif., and other ...


The following story will appear in next week's issue of Education Week. I wasn't sure what to expect going into Wednesday's arguments about the Summum "7 Aphorisms" monument case. One thing I noticed is that virtually every conservative legal organization that has ever been involved in suing a school district was involved in the case, and not all on the same side. So I knew it had to be interesting. (Here's a link to all the briefs, thanks to the ABA.) Monument Case Before High Court Has Implications for Schools Issue of government speech arises over Utah park displays By ...


A federal appeals court has upheld a $50,000 damages award to two students who were often suspended from riding their public school bus because the driver objected to their body odor. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, in New Orleans, upheld a ruling by a federal magistrate judge that awarded $25,000 each to the two children under Mississippi tort law. The magistrate found that a bus driver for the North Panola, Miss., school district had barred the students from the bus some days and had sprayed or allowed other students to spray deodorizer around ...


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