I probably should have noted this sooner, but I am on vacation this week. However, Education Week just posted my final U.S. Supreme Court story of the term that ended late last month. Embedded in the Web page of the story is a review of cases of interest to educators in the 2008-09 term. I'll be back to the blog next week....


A federal appeals court ruled today that authorities violated the rights of members of an anti-abortion group by ordering them to stop driving a truck displaying large, graphic images of aborted fetuses around a California middle school. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, in San Francisco, ruled unanimously in Center for Bio-Ethical Reform v. Los Angeles County Sheriff Department that a California statute that bars disruption on or near school grounds could not be applied under the First Amendment to efforts by the anti-abortion group to drive its truck around Dodson Middle ...


Maine's highest court has ruled that towns may not provide a subsidy to parents who pay tuition to send their children to private religious schools. Meanwhile, Arizona's highest court has issued an order permitting two state voucher programs that cover private religious schools to continue, but the state legislature has declined to provide any funding for the programs next year. In the Maine case, the state's Supreme Judicial Court ruled unanimously on July 1 in Joyce v. State of Maine that a state law that prohibits the use of public funds to directly pay tuition at private religious schools also ...


A Wisconsin appeals court has ruled that public school teachers in Milwaukee may display signs calling for a new union contract in their classrooms. The city school system had sought to bar teachers from displaying signs that read "Attract and Retain With a Fair Contract NOW!" and "Do the Right Thing." The signs represented political advocacy that was barred by district policy from school buildings, the system argued. But the state Court of Appeals affirmed a ruling by the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission that the signs were permitted under state law because they related to ongoing collective-bargaining activities. In a ...


With the U.S. Supreme Court ruling 5-4 today that the Second Amendment protects an individual's right to possess a gun unconnected to a militia, I thought I'd point out the lengthy decision's few references to schools. In his opinion for the 5-4 majority in District of Columbia v. Heller, Justice Antonin Scalia has a passage stressing that the ruling "should not be taken to cast doubt on longstanding prohibitions on the possession of firearms by felons and the mentally ill, or laws forbidding the carrying of firearms in sensitive places such as schools and government buildings, or laws imposing ...


A federal appeals court has ruled that two small Texas school districts do not have to comply with restrictions on student transfers under a broad 1970 desegregation order because those districts had desegregated voluntarily in the 1960s and were not defendants in the original lawsuit. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, in New Orleans, issued the decision June 24 in Samnorwood Independent School District v. Texas Education Agency . The 112-student Samnorwood district and the 101-student Harrold Independent School District, both in the Texas Panhandle, had been required by the TEA to comply ...


The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 today that the Eighth Amendment's prohibition against cruel and unusual punishments bars the imposition of the death penalty for the rape of a child. While the decision in Kennedy v. Louisiana (Case No. 07-343) does not directly implicate the school and institutional sex-abuse scandals of the last decade, there are some points in the majority and minority opinions that bear discussion from that perspective. In the majority opinion, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy notes that the rape of a child, such as that of the 8-year-old victim in this case by her stepfather, is ...


A California appeals court heard new arguments on Monday in a closely watched case on home schooling. The Los Angeles Times reports here that advocates for home-schooling urged the court to "overturn a decision that severely restricted the ability of California parents to educate their children at home." Although as I understand it, the same appellate court that issued this controversial Feb. 28 ruling withdrew it when the judges agreed to hear new arguments. I blogged on the ruling here and here, and Education Week wrote about it here. I've tracked down links to some of the briefs filed in ...


A federal appeals court ruled today that a South Carolina school district did not violate the free-speech rights of a local citizen when it denied him access to its Web site and other communications outlets he had sought to use to counter the district's own message of opposition to a bill in the state legislature. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, in Richmond, Va., held that Lexington County School District No. 1 was engaged in government speech when it used its Web site, e-mail system, and other means in 2004 and 2005 ...


The U.S. Supreme Court today declined to hear the appeal of a former high school student who filed a constitutional challenge to being paddled in a public school. The case was one of three school cases the justices declined to hear as its 2007-08 term winds down. The court also declined to step into a long-running lawsuit challenging the impact of New York state's teacher test on minority teachers in the New York City school system. And it refused to hear the appeal of a special education case from Wisconsin. In the corporal-punishment appeal, Serafin v. School of Excellence ...


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