Recent Decisions - SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

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Final Decisions

DOCKET NO: 08-305

NAME: Forest Grove Sch. Dist. v. TA.

DATE: June 22, 2009

CITATION: 129 S. Ct. 2484

School District filed petition for certiorari seeking to overturn order mandating student reimbursement. Student experienced learning difficulties but school psychologist found student did not qualify for special education. Parents sought private diagnosis, which revealed student had several learning disabilities. Parents placed student in specialized private school but School District alleged student's disabilities were not severe enough to qualify for special education and declined to pay. However, administrative hearing officer ordered School District to pay for private school. School appealed to trial court, which found in its favor. Court of appeals reversed. Held: For the student. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act authorizes reimbursement anytime a School District fails to provide adequate free appropriate public education. Fact that student had not received prior public school special education was irrelevant in determining whether School District provided student with a free appropriate public education." Forest Grove Sch. Dist. v. TA., 129 S. Ct. 2484 (2009).

DOCKET NO: 08-289 / 08-294

NAME: Horne v. Flores

DATE: June 25, 2009

CITATION: 129 S. Ct. 2579

State legislators appealed contempt order for allegedly violating the Equal Educational Opportunities Act (EEOA). Students and parents sued Nogales School District for improper funding of English Language-Learner programs. After ordering Nogales to properly fund English Language-Learner programs, a district court extended order to all school districts in state. When deadlines for compliance were not met, district court held state in contempt and imposed fines. State legislature tried to implement funding statutes that corrected deficiencies but district court found them flawed and denied removal of contempt order. Appeal resulted in remand to consider whether changed circumstances required dismissal of contempt order. District court found they had not and court of appeals upheld that ruling. Held: For the state. Case should be remanded because district and appeals courts incorrectly focused on narrow question of adequate incremental funding instead of whether state had fulfilled its EEOA obligation by making other changes. Further, extension of original contempt order to entire state was invalid because district court had no information regarding bilingual educational funding in any county other than Nogales. Home v. Flores, 129 S. Ct. 2579 (2009).

DOCKET NO: 08-479

NAME: Safford Unified Sch. Dist. No.lv. Redding

DATE: June 25, 2009

CITATION: 129 S. Ct. 2633

Parent sued School District and school officials alleging student's strip search violated Fourth Amendment. Student was alleged to have knives, cigarettes, and non-prescription pain pills. Assistant principal and administrative assistant searched student's backpack and belongings. Assistant principal then had administrative assistant take student to school nurse and had nurse and female assistant search student's clothes for pills. Student was ordered to pull the band of her underwear and bra out and shake them. No pills were found. Held: For student in part, for school officials in part. Although reasonable suspicion existed to search student's outer clothing and backpack, circumstances did not warrant intrusive strip search. Therefore, Fourth Amendment was violated. However, school officials had qualified immunity because existing law was not clear whether such searches were Fourth Amendment violations. In terms of School District, case was remanded to determine whether it could be held liable. …