A federal appeals court today upheld immunity for administrators at a Kentucky middle school over their role in turning in a student to law enforcement officials for giving a prescription pill to another student. The student and her parents sued the Grant County school district and various officials, alleging that their actions violated the girl's rights under the Fourth and Fifth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution be officials essentialy coerced a confession out of her. The alleged facts are a little bizarre, because according to court papers, the 7th grade student identified as A.E. went to the school ...


The U.S. Supreme Court today heard arguments in a case involving alleged sexual harassment in a school district central office. The justices appeared inclined to give a broad reading of an anti-retaliation provision of the main federal employment-discrimination law. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination in the workplace based on race, sex, and other factors, and it covers sexual harassment. One provision of Title VII is designed to prohibit retaliation by employers against those who “opposed” an unlawful employment practice, or “made a charge, testified, assisted, or participated in any manner in an investigation, ...


A federal appeals court has upheld a Michigan school district's restrictions on a student's distribution of an anti-abortion leaflet at his middle school. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, in Cincinnati, ruled unanimously that a school principal could place reasonable "time, place, and manner" restrictions on the leaflet. A student identified in court papers as Michael L. was a 14-year-old 8th grader at Jefferson Middle School in Monroe, Mich., in 2006 when he first sought to distribute leaflets citing abortion statistics on a Pro-Life Day of Silent Solidarity promoted nationally by the ...


The U.S. Supreme Court today declined to review several education cases, including the appeal of two Massachusetts families of a lower court decision that a school district did not violate their rights by exposing children to books promoting tolerance for gay marriage and families led by same-sex couples. The case was one of hundreds the justices refused to review on the first formal day of their new term. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 1st Circuit, in Boston, had ruled unanimously in January that the Lexington, Mass., school system did not violate the ...


A pair of special education parents in Ohio won their battle in the U.S. Supreme Court last year, but this week they lost the war. Jeff and Sandee Winkelman had sued the Parma, Ohio, school district over the special education services for their son, who has a form of autism. They lost on the merits in U.S. District Court, where they had the help of a lawyer. By the time they appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, in Cincinnati, they could no longer afford legal counsel, so they sought to represent themselves. ...


I love this little case. A Texas man, Brent E. Crummey, sought to pay his school district taxes with $50 U.S. American Eagle gold bullion coins, and apparently have the district accept the higher value of the coins in the open gold market than their face value as legal tender. The school district said no, so the man sued. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, in New Orleans, ruled against the man on Oct. 2, holding that "as legal tender, a dollar is a dollar." "The legal monetary value of Crummey’s...


I have the following article in next week's issue of Education Week about education cases I am following in the new U.S. Supreme Court term. I have added links to lower-court rulings or Supreme Court filings where available. * * * The 2008-09 term of the U.S. Supreme Court, which begins this week, has a docket that includes education-related cases involving employment and sex discrimination, the rights of teachers’ unions, and legal immunity for public officials, including educators. The justices will continue to add cases to be heard during the new term for the next several months. These are among the ...


The U.S. Supreme Court issued an orders list today adding 10 new cases for its 2008-09 term, but it did not grant review of any of the dozen or so education cases that were on its agenda. The court typically meets in the week before the formal opening of its new term, which is next Monday, Oct. 6, to review the hundreds of appeals that have piled up over the summer. Among the school issues arising in those cases are student free speech, the burden of proof in special education proceedings, parents' objections to school lessons on gay tolerance, ...


A federal appeals court has revived a lawsuit filed by a school district payroll supervisor who says he lost his job after asserting his rights under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, in Atlanta, reversed a federal district judge who had ruled for the Brevard County, Fla., school district in the case. In its Sept. 30 decision in Martin v. Brevard County Public Schools , the appeals court said the payroll supervisor, Anthony G. Martin, had raised genuine factual issues in his suit and thus the ...


A state appeals court in Massachusetts has upheld the reinstatement with full back pay of three teachers who were fired by their school district for "failure to demonstrate fluency in English." A three-judge panel of the mid-level Massachusetts Court of Appeals on Sept. 25 unanimously upheld decisions by an arbitrator and a state trial court that the Lowell school district had violated the teachers' procedural rights because the teachers could not cross-examine the graders of a standardized oral-proficiency the teachers had failed. Also, the district failed to follow state guidelines by not relying first on classroom observation of the teachers' ...


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