Recent Decisions - ELEMENTARY & SECONDARY EDUCATION

Article excerpt

NAME: R.E. v. N.Y.C. Dept. ofEduc.

DATE FILED: 4/4/2013

CITATION: 81 U.S.L.W. 3584

DECISION BELOW: 694 F.3d 167 (2d Cir. 2012)

DOCKETNO: 12-1175

NAME: Jefferson Co. Sch. Dist. R-I v. Elizabeth E.

DATE FILED: 3/26/2013

CITATION: 81 U.S.L.W. 3566

DECISION BELOW: 702 F.3d 1227 (10th Cir. 2012)

DOCKETNO: 12-1123

NAME: Sch. Dist. of Kansas City, Mo. v. Mo. Bd. of Fund Commrs.

DATE FILED: 3/15/2013

CITATION: 81 U.S.L.W. 3559

DECISION BELOW: 384 S.W.3d 238 (Mo. App. 2012)

DOCKET NO: 12-934

NAME: Angelloz v. Iberville Parish Sch. Bd.

DATE FILED: 1/23/2013

CERT. DENIED: 4/1/2013 (see above)

CITATION: 81 U.S.L.W. 3437

DECISION BELOW: not published

This review reports all Supreme Court activity in the area of education law from Jan. 23, 2012 through Apr. 29, 2013.

Constitutional Claims and Civil Rights

Parents of student appealed student's suspension, claiming Commissioner of Education and local board of education acted arbitrarily and capriciously in violation of student's First Amendment rights. A student warned his classmates not to come to school because he was "going to just blow this place up." The school board suspended the student for five days and the Commissioner sustained that decision. Held: For the Commissioner. It was reasonably foreseeable that a threat to blow up the school, made on school property while school was in session, would create a substantial disruption. Additionally, the suspension was not arbitrary and capricious. In re Saad-El-Din v. Steiner, 953 N.Y.S.2d 326 (App. Div. 3d Dept. 2012) appeal dismissed, 984 N.E.2d 321 (N.Y. 2013).

African- American driver sued employer, private school, and school's parent company, alleging racial discrimination. The driver alleged he was subjected to racial discrimination and compelled to resign because of a hostile work environment created by his supervisor. The school and its parent company moved to dismiss the driver's claim. Held: For the driver in part and for the school and parent company in part. The court denied the motion to dismiss the constructive discharge and hostile work environment claims against the school, but dismissed the complaint against the parent company, which was not named in the initial complaint filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Owens v. Allegheny Valley Sch., 869 F. Supp. 2d 653 (W.D. Pa. 2012).

Church and pastors sued city board of education and school district alleging district's policy prohibiting use of school facilities for Sunday worship services violated First Amendment. Having won a preliminary injunction against the district, the church and pastors sought to permanently enjoin enforcement of the policy. Held: For the church and pastors. A permanent injunction was granted because the policy was discriminatory and was not sufficiently justified by the district's desire to avoid an Establishment Clause violation. Bronx Household of Faith v. Bd. ofEduc. of the City of New York, 876 F. Supp. 2d 419 (S.D.N.Y. 2012).

Teacher appealed order denying petition to vacate arbitration award, alleging violation of First Amendment freedom of speech. During collective bargaining negotiations with the school district, rain led a teacher to display his picket sign from his legally parked car along a street typically used for student drop-off. The use of that street for teacher parking created traffic congestion, causing children to cross traffic lanes to reach the school. The district filed a disciplinary charge against the teacher for creating a safety hazard. An arbitrator held in favor of the school, and the teacher appealed. Held: For the teacher. The teacher's choice of a parking space did not violate school rules and no school official asked him to leave during the protest, which showed that the teacher's exercise of his First Amendment rights did not threaten the school's effective operation enough to justify the imposition of discipline. …