Constitutional Claims and Civil Rights
Teacher appealed grant of qualified immunity to principal after alleging violation of First Amendment right. As part of a teacher's punishment for inappropriate communication with a colleague, the teacher was prohibited from attending science organizational meetings. The teacher challenged the punishment. Held: For the principal. Although the punishment was overly broad and unconstitutional, the principal was properly granted qualified immunity because the teacher's rights were not clearly established at the time of violation. Trial courts have broad discretion in their authority to award qualified immunity. Under the circumstances, the trial court did not abuse its discretion by granting the principal qualified immunity. Baar v. Jefferson Co. Bd. ofEduc, 476 Fed. Appx. 621 (6th Cir. 2012)(unpublished).
Former teacher appealed conviction of first-degree criminal sexual conduct. A former elementary school teacher was convicted of engaging in sexual intercourse with a former student. The teacher was not permitted to cross-examine the former student about statements regarding his past sexual conduct due to rape-shield statutory protection. The teacher alleged the trial court erred in not allowing the cross-examination. Held: For the State. The teacher had a constitutional right to confront witnesses against her. However, the evidence presented through the victim's testimony regarding past sexual history was not relevant and therefore did not qualify for an exception to the rape-shield statute. People v. Benton, 817 N.W.2d 599 (Mich. App. 2011).
Board of trustees moved for summary judgment against university hospital employee 's claims of discrimination and retaliation. An AfricanAmerican female employee was a licensed practical nurse at the university hospital. She alleged she suffered from race, sex, age, and equal pay discrimination at the hospital. The board of trustees sought to dismiss claims for failure to state a claim and protection under governmental and sovereign immunity. Held: For the board of trustees. Federal and state sovereign immunity protected the board of trustees as a state university hospital. Also, the employee did not exhaust her administrative remedies for her claims, thereby failing to meet the legal burden to show she was entitled to relief. Harris v. Bd. of Trustees U. of Ala., 846 F. Supp. 2d 1223 (N.D. Ala. 2012).
Parents, on behalf student, sued school district and school officials alleging racial discrimination in violation of Title VI. Over the course of several years, a student was racially harassed by various school peers. Ultimately, the student was accused of sexually harassing a female student and expelled from school. The student's parents alleged that the school officials violated Title VI by not appropriately addressing the peer racial harassment and by directly discriminating against the student when they expelled him. Held: For the school district and school officials. The school officials did not violate Title VI because they did not act with deliberate indifference towards the peer harassment and the harassment was not severe, pervasive, or objectively offensive. Further, the school officials did not directly discriminate against the student because their decision to expel him was not based on his race but on evidence that he sexually harassed a female student. CS. v. Couch, 843 F. Supp. 2d 894 (N.D. Ind. 2011).
Principal and teacher appealed denial of summary judgment for qualified immunity in student discrimination action. A mother, on behalf of a student, filed a racial discrimination action against a principal, teacher, and various other defendants. The principal and teacher claimed qualified immunity. Held: For the principal and teacher in part and for the mother in part. The principal and teacher were denied summary judgment for qualified immunity as to whether they acted with deliberate indifference to verbal racial discrimination by students because questions of fact remained. However, the teacher and principal were granted summary judgment for qualified immunity as to whether they acted with deliberate indifference to physical discrimination by students because they did not have actual knowledge that the students' physical misconduct was racially motivated. Distiso v. Cook, 691 F.3d 226 (2d Cir. 2012).
Student sought judicial review of denial of suppression of evidence obtained in allegedly unreasonable search and seizure by law enforcement officer. A student was placed under arrest after being found with marijuana on school property. The officer handcuffed the student and searched his locked backpack, where he found an air pistol. The student claimed the officer lacked the necessary warrant to search the backpack. The officer claimed that the search was acceptable under a school search exception. Held: For the student. The school search exception did not apply because the officer was an employee of the local police department, not a school official. Additionally, the officer handcuffed and arrested the student, actions a school official could not perform. Finally, because the student was being removed from the school, the search was not needed to maintain order. State v. Menéese, 282 P.3d 83 (Wash. 2012).
Student and parents appealed judgment in favor of school district, alleging violation of Title IX based on teacher's sexual abuse. A student and his teacher exchanged sexual text messages and on one occasion engaged in kissing and petting. Suspecting an improper relationship, the school district conducted an investigation but did not discover any evidence of sexual abuse. Eventually, the student's mother found the text messages and reported the teacher. The school district responded by firing the teacher, and the parent sued. Held: For the school district. While the school district was informed of a potentially improper relationship, that information was not sufficient to put the school district on notice of sexual misconduct. Further, the school district took prompt action upon learning of the improper relationship. N.R. Doe v. St. Francis Sch. Dist., 694 F.3d 869 (7th Cir. 2012).
Publishers of LGBT support websites, along with student, sued school district and superintendent alleging violation of First Amendment. A school district's internet-filtering system, used to comply with the Children's Internet Protection Act, separated websites expressing a negative view toward LGBT individuals into its "religion" category and sorted websites expressing positive viewpoints toward LGBT issues into its "sexuality" category, thereby blocking them. Held: For the publisher and student. The filtering system discriminated based on viewpoint in violation of the First Amendment and was not narrowly tailored to the interest of protecting students from obscenity. Because the First Amendment claim was likely to succeed on the merits, the court granted a preliminary injunction against use of the filtering system. Parents, Fams., and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, Inc. v. Camdenton R-III Sch. Dist, 853 F. Supp. 2d 888 (W.D. Mo. 2012).
Students and parents appealed summary judgment for school district alleging graduation ceremonies held at church violated First Amendment Establishment Clause. A school district rented a local church for its two high school graduation ceremonies. Despite alternative secular venues available to hold the ceremonies, the school district insisted that none were as attractive or inexpensive as the church. Held: For the students and parents. While the use of a church for school activities does not violate the Establishment Clause per se, the "sheer religiosity of the space" implied to non-adherents in attendance that the school endorsed the church's message. This implied endorsement had the coercive effect of forcing students to make a choice the Establishment Clause does not allow: either attend in a pervasively Christian environment, or skip graduation. Doe v. Elmbrook Sch. Dist., 687 F.3d 840 (7th Cir. 2012).
Parents, on behalf of students, appealed summary judgment alleging school district violated Establishment Clause. A school district adopted a policy allowing public school students to receive two academic credits for off-campus religious instruction offered by private educators. When parents sued the school district, the court granted summary judgment for the district. A parent of a student at the school sued, arguing the mural violated the Establishment Clause. Held: For the school district. The school district's policy sensibly accommodated the desires of other parents that their children have released time for religious instruction. The arrangement allowed the public school to accept credits from an accredited private school, which comported with the district's general policy of accepting transfer credits. Thus, the policy was neutral as to religion. Moss v. Spartanburg Co. Sch. Dist. Seven, 683 F.3d 599 (4th Cir. 2012) cert, denied, 133 S. Ct. 623 (2012).
Parent, on behalf of student, sued city and school committee alleging violation of Establishment Clause. A Christian prayer mural was affixed to the wall of the auditorium in one of the city's public high schools. The mural was privately funded and had been displayed since the 1960s. Held: For the parent and student. The purposes of the mural, when installed, were Christian in nature. The school became excessively entangled with religion when its committee adopted the views of a vocal religious group, such that a reasonable observer would interpret the mural as endorsing a religion. Ahlquist v. City of Cranston, 840 F. Supp. 2d 507 (D.R.I. 2012).
Parent, on behalf of student, sued school board, superintendent, and principal, alleging violation of free speech rights and infringement of mother's fundamental parenting rights. A student created a rap song that criticized two school coaches by alleging improper contact with female students and published the video on Facebook and YouTube. The student was subsequently suspended from the school and transferred, and his parent sued. Held: For the school board, superintendent, and principal. The song was not constitutionally protected because it constituted harassment towards the teachers and caused a substantial disruption at the school. The parenting rights of the student's parent were not violated because the school's discipline of the student was tied to the school's compelling interest of maintaining school order. Bell v. Itawamba Co. Seh. Bd., 859 F. Supp. 2d 834 (N.D. Miss. 2012).
City residents and parents, on behalf of students attending city public school, sued city officials alleging violation of Establishment Clause. In accordance with city policies, city officials allocated permits to private religious schools for the use of publicly-owned and maintained athletic fields, and the city residents and parents sued. Held: For the city officials. The city policy had a secular purpose, did not have the effect of impermissibly aiding religion, and did not excessively entangle government with religion. A reasonable observer would not perceive the city's policy as an endorsement of religion. Thus, the city's policy for allocating permits was neutral as to religion. Rogers v. Mulholland, 858 F. Supp. 2d 213 (D.R.I. 2012).
State officials appealed preliminary injunction in favor of coalition of concerned citizens prohibiting enforcement of select provisions of state act. A state act included provisions requiring students to provide proof of citizenship and immigration status. State officials argued the provision was only a means to collect data which could shed light on the public impact of illegal immigration but a coalition of citizens concerned about the act sued. Held: For the coalition. The state act substantially interfered with the rights of undocumented schoolchildren to a public education in violation of the Equal Protection Clause and was simply a means of forcing undocumented persons to disclose their unlawful status. Hispanic Interest Coalition of Ala. v. Gov. of Ala., 691 F.3d 1236 (1 lth Cir. 2012).
Non-profit Christian group appealed denial of request for preliminary injunction to prohibit school district from barring participation in afterschool program. The group alleged revocation of its right to participate in the program violated its First Amendment right to free speech. Held: For the Christian group. The school district engaged in impermissible viewpoint discrimination. The Christian group had established a likelihood of success on the merits and that lost attendance at meetings constituted irreparable harm. Child Evangelism Fellowship of Minn. v. Minneapolis Spec. Sch. Dist. No. 1, 690 F.3d 996 (8th Cir. 2012).
Church and pastors sued school officials, alleging district's refusal to permit its use of school facilities for Sunday worship services violated various First Amendment rights. The church requested a preliminary injunction against the school district so that the church could continue to hold services in the school building. Held: For the church. The preliminary injunction was granted because the district's policy constituted impermissible viewpoint discrimination and was not sufficiently justified by a desire to avoid an Establishment Clause violation. Bronx Household of Faith v. Bd. ofEduc. of the City of New York, 855 F. Supp. 2d 44 (S.D.N.Y. 2012).
Students with Disabilities
School district appealed judgment in favor of parents, who alleged that school district violated Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA). Parents of an autistic student placed their child in a private school and sued the school district for tuition reimbursement, alleging that the school district failed to provide the student with a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) as required by IDEA. Held: For the parents. The parents were entitled to tuition reimbursement because the school district placed the student in a classroom setting that was inappropriate for the student's needs. Further, the parents demonstrated that the student's placement in the private school met the unique needs of the student. Ka.D. v. Nest, 475 Fed. Appx. 658 (9th Cir. 2012)(unpublished), cert, denied, 133 S. Ct. 650(2012).
Parent, on behalf of student, appealed summary judgment in favor of school district, state department of education, and school administrators, alleging violations of Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), Americans with Disability Act (ADA), and Rehabilitation Act (RA). A parent had repeatedly refused to agree with a school district on an education plan for his autistic daughter. The parent alleged the disagreement caused his daughter to not receive a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE), pursuant to IDEA, and that this IDEA violation constituted disability discrimination under ADA and RA. Held: For the school district, state department of education, and school administrators. There was no IDEA violation because it was the father's actions, not the school district's actions, that prevented the student from receiving a FAPE. Further, there were no ADA or RA violations because an IDEA violation alone cannot constitute an ADA or RA violation. French v. N.Y. St. Dept. ofEduc, 476 Fed. Appx. 468 (2d Cir. 2011)(unpublished).
Student, individually and by his parent and legal guardian, appealed summary judgment in favor of school district, alleging school district violated Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). A parent had many disagreements with a school district over the proper education plan for her disabled child. Eventually, the parent and student moved to another school district. The parent filed an IDEA suit against the first district, and the district court granted summary judgment for the school district, finding that the district did not violate IDEA and the parent's claims for educational expenses were moot because the student moved to another school district. The student appealed. Held: For the school district in part and remanded in part. The district court was not clearly erroneous in holding that the school district did not violate IDEA. However, the district court was incorrect in finding that the claims for educational expenses were moot, and therefore the educational expense issue was remanded. D.F. v. Collingswood Borough Bd. of Educ, 694 F.3d 488 (3d Cir. 2012).
Parents, on behalf of student, appealed judgment in favor of school district, alleging that school district violated Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). A school district relied on an expired Individualized Education Program (IEP) to measure a student's academic and functional performance and to provide educational benefits for the student. The student's parents objected to that IEP and obtained private tutoring for the student to supplement his education. The parents then sought reimbursement. Held: For the parents. The school district violated IDEA by relying on an outdated IEP Therefore, the parents were entitled to reimbursement for their private tutoring expenses. Anchorage Sch. Dist. v. M.P., 689 F.3d 1047 (9th Cir. 2012).
Parents of students sued school district for attorney's fees available under Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Two students' parents prevailed in their IDEA cases and sought attorney's fees and costs available under IDEA'S fee-shifting provision. Held: For the parents in part and for the school district in part. The parents were granted summary judgment to recover their attorneys' fees because their attorneys' hourly rates were reasonable. Further, the parents could recover the costs for faxing, photocopying, and mileage because those costs were included under the fee-shifting provision. However, the parents were denied summary judgment to recover costs for certain tasks because it was uncertain whether those tasks were clerical and thus not recoverable. Johnson v. Dist. of Columbia, 850 F. Supp. 2d 74 (D.D.C. 2012). See also Garvin v. Dist. of Columbia, 851 F. Supp. 2d 101 (D.D.C. 2012).
Guardian of student sued school district for attorney 's fees available under Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). A guardian prevailed in an IDEA action and sought attorney's fees available under IDEA'S fee-shifting provision. Held: For the guardian in part and for the school district in part. The guardian could recover some of her attorney's fees because her claim was supported by adequate documentation and the hours billed were sufficiently close in time to the IDEA action. However, the hourly rate that she requested for her attorney's fees was adjusted because her request was unreasonably high given the simple nature of the case. Huntley v. Dist. of Columbia, 860 F. Supp. 2d 53 (D.D.C. 2012).
Parent, on behalf of student, sued school district alleging violation of Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). A student took a vocational evaluation before she graduated high school. After the evaluation, the school district did not alter the student's Individualized Education Plan (IEP) to address the evaluation's conclusions. The student then graduated high school without the benefit of the altered IEP. Held: For the parent. The school district violated IDEA because it did not timely review the student's evaluation and appropriately revise her IEP. The student was not barred from remedy even though she had already graduated high school, and she was still entitled to compensatory education. BrooL· v. Dist. of Columbia, 841 F. Supp. 2d 253 (D.D.C. 2012).
Parents, on behalf of student, sued school district seeking attorney's fees under Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA). Parents prevailed in an IDEA case and sought attorney's fees available under the IDEA fee-shifting provision. Held: For the parents in part and for the school district in part. Although the parents could recover some of their attorney's fees, they could not recover all of them because they were not completely successful in their IDEA case. Further, the parents could not recover attorney's fees for Individualized Education Program (IEP) meetings because those fees are not included under the IDEA feeshifting provision. A.S. v. Dist. of Columbia, 842 F. Supp. 2d 40 (D.D.C. 2012).
Parent of disabled student sued school district for attorney's fees available under Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). A parent prevailed in an IDEA action and sued to recover attorney's fees available under IDEA. Held: For the parent in part and for the school district in part. The school district was required to pay the parent's attorney's fees incurred before and after the hearing because the work done by the attorney was related to underlying litigation. Also, the school district was required to pay other fees and costs that were reasonable. However, the parent was not reimbursed for the full hourly rate of her attorney because the IDEA case lacked complexity. Petway v. Dist. of Columbia, 858 F Supp. 2d 70 (D.D.C. 2012). Accord. Flores v. Dist. of Columbia, 858 F Supp. 2d 95 (D.D.C. 2012), Huntley v. Dist. of Columbia, 859 F. Supp. 2d 25 (D.D.C. 2012).
School district appealed summary judgment in favor of parents in suit against school district for violating Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA). A school district recommended that a disabled student be transferred from a general education program to a special education program. The student's parents disagreed and unilaterally moved the student to a private school. The parents then sought tuition reimbursement claiming that school district violated IDEA by offering an inadequate Individualized Education Program (IEP). Held: For the parents. The school district failed to provide the student with an adequate IEP because it failed to consider highly relevant evidence in the record. M.H. v. N.Y.C. Dept. ofEduc, 685 F.3d 217 (2d Cir. 2012).
Parent, on behalf of student, sued school district, alleging violation of Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA). A school district assigned a disabled student to a public school, which the student's parent alleged violated IDEA because it was not a separate, fulltime special education program that could implement the student's Individualized Education Program (IEP). Held: For the school district. The school district did not violate IDEA because it was not required to place the student in a private school or a separate, fulltime special education program under the student's IEP. Further, the school district fully implemented the student's IEP. Savoy v. Dist. of Columbia, 844 F. Supp. 2d 23 (D.D.C. 2012).
Parent, on behalf of student, moved for reconsideration of judgment in favor of school district, seeking compensatory education pursuant to Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA). A school district expelled a student with ADHD for coming to school under the influence of marijuana. During the student's expulsion, the school district did not provide the student with interim general education curriculum. However, during this time the parent enrolled the student in a private school and received tuition reimbursement from the school district. Held: For the school district. The student was not entitled to compensatory education pursuant to IDEA because the parent was granted tuition reimbursement for the student's enrollment in the private school. Fisher v. Friendship Pub. Charter Sek, 857 F. Supp. 2d 64 (D.D.C. 2012).
School district appealed judgment in favor of parents, who alleged that school district violated Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA). Parents of an autistic student placed their child in a private school and sued the school district for tuition reimbursement, alleging that the school district failed to provide the student with a Free and Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) as required by IDEA. Held: For the parents. The parents were entitled to tuition reimbursement because the school district placed the student in a classroom setting that was inappropriate for the student's needs. Further, the parents demonstrated that the student's placement in the private school met the unique needs of the student. Ka.D. v. Nest, 475 Fed. Appx. 658 (9th Cir. 2012)(unpublished), cert, denied, 133 S . Ct. 650 (2012).
Faculty and Administration
Teacher-applicant sued mayor, as operator of school district, alleging age discrimination in hiring. An applicant for a teaching position was denied an interview after her application was rejected because of her insufficient responses in the application's essay portion. The applicant sued, and the mayor filed a motion for summary judgment. Held: For the mayor. The mayor provided a legitimate, non-discriminatory reason for denying the application, and this reason was not successfully rebutted by the teacher-applicant. Kranz v. Gray, 842 F. Supp. 2d 13 (D.D.C. 2012).
Applicant appealed decision affirming board of education 's denial of certified teacher's license. The board of education denied the applicant a teaching license because the applicant had a previous conviction for theft of property. The applicant claimed the board should not take the conviction into account because the conviction had been expunged. Held: For the board of education. Regardless of whether the applicant's conviction had been expunged, the board could consider all previous convictions to determine if the applicant posed a threat to the safety of school children or personnel. Landers v. Arkansas Dept. of Educ, 374 S.WJd 795 (Ark. App. 2010).
Department of education appealed dismissal of sexual misconduct charge and termination of employment against tenured high school teacher. A high school teacher called a student to tell her she had passed a recent examination and asked her to go out on a date with him. An arbitrator found the teacher guilty of sexual misconduct and terminated his employment, and the teacher sued. Held: For the department of education. The teacher's actions in calling a student at home and asking her out on a date constituted unacceptable behavior. The termination of the teacher's employment did not shock the conscience. Gongora v. New York City Dept. of Educ, 951 N.Y.S.2d 137 (N.Y. App. Div. 1st Dept. 2012).
Teacher appealed summary judgment of claims of gender discrimination and retaliation in favor of school district and supervisor. A former teacher alleged her supervisor made inappropriate comments and actions towards her. After she filed a hostile work environment claim, she was denied the unpaid role of dance team advisor. Held: For school district and supervisor. Based on a totality of the circumstances, the alleged conduct was not severe or frequent enough to meet the burden of a hostile work environment. Furthermore, the teacher failed to show a causal connection between filing the complaint and being denied the dance advisor position. Cristofaro v. Lake Shore C. Sch. Dist., 473 Fed. Appx. 28 (2d Cir. 2012)(unpublished).
Professor appealed summary judgment dismissing Title VII and Age Discrimination in Employment Act claims brought against university. A Nigerian-born professor alleged wage and race discrimination because he was the lowest paid faculty member in his department. Held: For the university. The professor did not meet his burden of proof for wage or age discrimination because he did not prove that his age was a "but-for" cause of his lower salary. The professor also did not prove that the university's explanation for his wage was pretext for discrimination. Onyiah v. St. Cloud St. U., 684 F3d 7 1 1 (8th Cir. 2012).
Teaching assistant sued school district, claiming that she was subjected to racially hostile work environment in violation of ïtle VII. After a teaching assistant received poor performance reviews, she claimed that her poor performance was due to the racially hostile work environment she was subjected to, alleging that she was racially harassed by a teacher who directed racial epithets at her. Held: For the school district. The teaching assistant's claims were insufficient to establish that the racial harassment was severe and pervasive enough to constitute a hostile work environment in violation of Title VII. Further, the teaching assistant also failed to present any evidence to corroborate her allegations. Roberts v. Fairfax Co. Pub. Schs., 858 F Supp. 2d 605 (E.D. Va. 2012).
Two teachers sued school board alleging gender discrimination and retaliation in violation of Title VII. A teacher claimed that a school principal grabbed her arm, while another teacher claimed that the principal rubbed her back. Later, the two teachers complained to the school board that they thought the principal was threatening. At the end of the year, one teacher resigned and the other was moved to another school. Held: For the school board. The teachers failed to prove that the offending conduct was based on their gender or was so severe or pervasive as to alter the conditions of their employment or create an abusive work environment. Further, the school board did not engage in unlawful retaliation because one teacher's move to another school was not a materially adverse employment action, and the other teacher's resignation was voluntary. Holleman v. Colonial Heights Seh. Bd., 854 F. Supp. 2d 344 (E.D. Va. 2012), appeal dismissed, (4th Cir. May 07, 2012).
Former principal sued school district and officials alleging deprivation of his constitutional right to marry. A school principal told his superintendent of his intent to marry a subordinate employee, which the superintendent advised would violate the district's anti-nepotism policy. The principal decided against marrying at that time, but the district subsequently demoted and reassigned him. He then married the employee without violating the policy, but his contract for employment was not renewed. Held: For the school district and officials. The district's antinepotism policy did not directly and substantially interfere with the fundamental right to marry. Baker v. McCall, 842 F. Supp. 2d 938 (W.D. Va. 2012).
Parents of student who died of self-inflicted gunshot wound brought action against school resource officer alleging due process violation under state-created danger theory. A student shot himself with a blank loaded revolver during a school play rehearsal and later died from the injuries. The school's resource officer had previously recommended rules, to be implemented by the school, for use of the gun on school property for use in the play. Other school officials ultimately disregarded the recommendations. Held: For the officer. The resource officer lacked wrongful intent and was not egregiously reckless in his actions because he reasonably believed that his rules would be implemented and followed. Thayer v. Washington Co. Sch. Dist., 858 F. Supp. 2d 1269 (D. Utah 2012).
Student appealed summary judgment for school district in personal injury action where another student injured the student. A student spontaneously threw a stick at another student during a school fire drill, resulting in injuries to the student's eye. Held: For the school district. The school was not liable as it did not have notice of the spontaneous and unforeseen act, nor could reasonable supervision have prevented the conduct. Rosborough v. Pine Plains C. Sch. Dist., 948 N.Y.S.2d 373 (App. Div. 2d Dept. 2012).
City department of education, board of education, and school principal appealed denial of summary judgment in suit by student and his mother that claimed the student was sexually abused by a teacher. The school principal suggested the teacher have no further contact with the student after the student's mother became upset that the student's teacher did not notify her that the student had been at his house. The student later ran away from home stayed with the teacher for two months, during which time the teacher sexually abused the student. The student and his mother sued. Held: For the department, board, and principal. The school officials had not negligently retained or supervised the teacher because they did not know or have reason to know of the teacher's propensity for sexual abuse of minors. S.C. v. N.Y.C. Dept. of Educ, 949 N.Y.S.2d 71 (App. Div. 2d Dept. 2012).
Two students appealed dismissal of suit alleging school district in which teacher previously taught breached its duty of care after students were sexually abused by teacher. A teacher's former school district falsified an employment history form to cover up sexual harassment and abuse of students by the teacher. The school district that hired the teacher relied on this report when hiring him. The teacher subsequently sexually abused the two students. Held: For the students. The teacher's former school district owed the students a duty of reasonable care because it misstated the teacher's history on an employment verification form. It failed to disclose its discipline of the teacher and his history of abuse, and the students' injury was a proximate result of this failure. Jane Doe3 v. McLean Co. Unit Dist. No. 5 Bd. of Dir s., 973 N.E.2d 880 (111. 2012).
Student sued school district and teacher alleging negligent supenñsion arising from injury sustained during hockey game with teacher. A high school student and teacher were involved in a hockey game during a physical education class. The teacher's hockey stick struck the student's hand as the student attempted to block the teacher's shot. Held: 'Summary judgment for the school district and teacher. The school district did owe a duty of supervision to the student, but the involvement of the teacher in the game was not a violation of that duty. The teacher's conduct of taking the shot was not negligent and did not expose the student to unreasonable risks. Godoy v. C. islip Union Free Sch. Dist., 950 N.Y.S.2d 693 (Sup. Ct. 2012).
School appealed denial of summary judgment where parents of first grade students alleged negligent supervision when their children were sexually abused by sophomore student. While in the school building before classes, four first grade students were sexually abused by a sophomore student. The students' parents sued the school. Held: For the school. The sophomore student had no prior history of inappropriate behavior and there were no other circumstances to indicate that the abuse was occurring. Therefore, the school was not liable, as the abuse was neither foreseeable nor was the school was on notice as to possible abuse by the student. Geywits v. Charlotte Valley C. Sch. Dist., 949 N.Y.S.2d 834 (App. Div. 3d Dept. 2012).
Student Conduct and Discipline
Mother, on behalf of student, sued school, school district and school administrators alleging disciplinary action violated student's due process rights. A student attended a party where minors were consuming alcohol. School officials found out about the party and pursuant to school policy expelled the student from the National Honor Society, and the student sued. Held: For the school, school district, and school administrators. The student's due process rights were not violated because the student did not have a protected liberty interest in being in the honor society and the student was provided adequate due process prior to his expulsion from it. Piekosz-Murphy v. Bd. OfEduc. Of Community High Sch. Dist. No. 230, 858 F. Supp. 2d 952 (N.D. ?1. 2012).
Guidance counselor, town, and school officials moved to dismiss suit brought by student who alleged various tort and constitutional violations. A guidance counselor engaged in sexual conduct with a high school student who was over the age of consent. After the guidance counselor resigned, students and staff members harassed the student because of her relationship with the guidance counselor. The student sued, and a motion to dismiss was filed. Held: For the guidance counselor, town, and school officials in part and for the student in part. Some of the claims were dismissed because either the student failed to state a claim or the guidance counselor, town, or school official could not be held liable. However, other causes of action that did state claims were allowed to proceed because they involved disputed issues of whether the student consented to the sexual relationship with the guidance counselor and whether certain school officials knew of the sexual relationship and responded appropriately. Doe v. Fournier, 851 F. Supp. 2d 207 (D. Mass. 2012).…