The Juneau, Alaska, school board is pursuing some $5,000 in legal fees from the former high school student whose "Bong Hits 4 Jesus" banner led to a landmark U.S. Supreme Court case, the Juneau Empire is reporting. The justices ruled 6-3 last year in Morse v. Frederick that the banner unfurled by Joseph Frederick at an Olympic torch relay outside his high school was not protected speech under the First Amendment. Five members of the court signed an opinion that said school officials have the right to regulate drug-related messages on school campuses. I reported on the decision ...


A federal appeals court today ruled against a family seeking to compel a school district to allow a service dog to accompany a student with a hearing impairment at school. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit, in New York City, ruled unanimously that the parents had failed to exhaust their administrative remedies under federal special education law before suing the East Meadow Union Free School District. According to the decision, the parents had asked school officials to allow their son to bring his service dog, Simba, to school. The dog would help ...


The U.S. Supreme Court today ordered a federal appeals court to reexamine a securities-fraud case in which the California State Teachers' Retirement System is the lead plaintiff. In a brief order, the justices told the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, in San Francisco, to restudy the California case in light of their decision last week in Stoneridge Investment Partners LLC v. Scientific-Atlanta Inc. In that case, the court ruled that federal securities law does not allow fraud claims against third parties who did not directly mislead investors, even if they were business partners of companies ...


The U.S. Supreme Court today declined to hear the appeal of a Virginia school district over whether the federal special education law requires that school officials offer a specific school site in the individualized education program for a student with disabilities. The appeal in Alexandria City School Board v. A.K. (Case No. 07-541) involved the IEP developed for the 2004-05 school year for a student with multiple disabilities. The Alexandria district proposed day placements in two private schools, but the child's parents refused the IEP and sought reimbursement for placing their child in a different private school. A ...


Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings issued a letter to state schools chiefs today to voice a more detailed disagreement with last week's federal appeals court ruling on the unfunded-mandates provision of the No Child Left Behind Act. My colleague David Hoff has a more extensive post on the letter on his NCLB: Act II blog. I wrote about the ruling in the School Law Blog here, and in an Education Week story....


The U.S. Supreme Court today agreed to take up a case stemming from allegations of sexual harassment in a school district central office. The question in Crawford v. Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County (Case No. 06-1595) is whether Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects a worker from being dismissed because she cooperated with her employer's internal investigation. The appeal was brought by Vicky S. Crawford, who worked with Gene Hughes, the director of employee relations for the Metro Nashville school district. According to court papers, the Metro Nashville/Davidson County government, which includes ...


A federal appeals court ruled today that remedies available under the main federal special education law do not limit parents from also pursuing claims under a broader federal law barring discrimination against people with disabilities. "The availability of relief under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act does not limit the availability of a damages remedy under" U.S. Department of Education regulations for Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, in San Francisco, said in a unanimous ruling. In a case from Hawaii, the court held that ...


A federal appeals court today partially reinstated a parent's lawsuit against a school district and superintendent stemming from the treatment of the parent's daughter, who has diabetes. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, in Detroit, ruled unanimously that the parent may have a valid claim that the superintendent retaliated against her for public criticisms that were protected by the First Amendment. The case stems from what appears to have been a nasty spat between the parent and the district over such things as whether the school nurse would administer the student's insulin ...


A school principal did not violate the First Amendment rights of a 5th grader when she barred him from distributing candy cane-shaped Christmas ornaments with an attached card promoting Christianity, a federal appeals court ruled today. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit, in Detroit, ruled unanimously in Curry v. Hensinger to uphold qualified immunity for the principal of the Handley School in Saginaw, Mich. The student, Joel Curry, had sought to sell the "candy canes," which actually were pipe cleaners and beads shaped to look like the Christmas confection and meant as ...


This week marks the 20th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier, which gave school administrators sweeping authority to regulate student speech in school-sponsored publications and activities. In the Jan. 13, 1988, ruling, the court held 5-3 that the principal of Hazelwood East High School in suburban St. Louis did not violate the First Amendment rights of journalism students when he withheld publication of two pages of the student newspaper because of concerns he had about articles on divorce and teenage pregnancy. Justice Byron R. White wrote for the majority that "educators are entitled to ...


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