Recent Decisions - SUPREME COURT DECISIONS

Journal of Law and Education, April 2009 | Go to article overview

Recent Decisions - SUPREME COURT DECISIONS


Final Decisions

DOCKET NO: 07-1125

NAME: Fitzgerald v. Barnstable School Committee

DATE: Jan. 21, 2009

CITATION: 129 S.Ct. 788

Parents of kindergarten student sued school district under §1983 claiming that the district inadequately responded to claims of peer-on-peer sexual harassment of their daughter. Kindergarten student claimed that third grade boy on school bus bullied her into raising her dress and pulling down her underwear. School officials questioned alleged bully, school bus driver, and other children from bus. School officials could not corroborate the allegations. Separate investigation by police found insufficient evidence to bring charges. Daughter reported other incidents at school. Parents sued under Title IX, §1983, and state law. District court dismissed §1983 and state law claims and granted summary judgment on Title IX claims. First Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal of the Title IX claims due to lack of merit and upheld the summary judgment of the §1983 claims based on the finding that Title IX precluded the use of §1983 actions based on Title IX. Held: The Supreme Court held that §1983 actions are not precluded by Title IX claims alleging gender discrimination in schools. Based on a review of other rights protected by Title IX and the Equal Protection Clause, the Court concluded that Congress did not intend to make Title IX the sole means of bringing suit for gender discrimination. The Court found that Title IX can be used to sue institutions and programs that receive federal funds, but cannot be used to sue individual actors, and the Equal Protection Clause can only be used against state actors, not private individuals, but §1983 claims can be brought against anyone including individual actors such as teachers or administrators. Due to the differences in coverage of §1983 and Title IX, the Court concluded Title IX was not meant to be an exclusive remedy. Fitzgerald v. Barnstable School Committee, 129 S.Ct. 788 (2009).

Review Granted

DOCKET NO: 08-305

NAME: Forest Grove School Dist. v. T.A.

DATE: Jan. 16, 2009

CITATION: cert. granted, 129 S.Ct. 987 (2009)

CASE BELOW: Forest Grove School Dist. v. T.A, 523 F.3d 1078 (9th Cir. 2008)

DOCKET NO: 08-479

NAME: Safford Unified School Dist. No. 1 v. Redding

DATE: Jan. 16, 2009

CITATION: cert granted, 129 S.Ct. 987

CASE BELOW: Redding v. Safford Unified School Dist. No.l, 531 F.3d 1071 (9th Cir. 2008)

DOCKET NO (s): 08-289, 08-294

NAME: Home v. Flores; Speaker of Arizona House of Representatives v. Flores

DATE: Jan. 9, 2009

CITATION: cert. granted, 129 S.Ct. 893

CASE BELOW: Flores v. Arizona, 516 F.3d 1140 (9th Cir. 2008)

Review Denied

Decisions without published opinions in lower court

DOCKET NO: 08-535

NAME: Panse v. Norman

DATE: Dec. 8, 2008

CITATION: cert denied, 129 S.Ct. 738

DOCKET NO: 08-316

NAME: US. ex rel. Bott v. Silicon Valley Colleges

DATE: Nov. 10, 2008

CITATION: cert. denied, 129 S.Ct. 573

Decisions with published opinions in lower court

DOCKET NO: 08-664

NAME: Combs v. Homer-Center School Dist.

DATE: Jan. 21, 2009

CITATION: 129 S.Ct. 1013

Six sets of parents of home-schooled children sued school district and school district officials alleging that the reporting and review portions of Pennsylvania's compulsory education law place a substantial burden on their free exercise of religion. Pennsylvania's compulsory education laws allow for home-schooling for a variety of reasons. Each parent who chooses to home-school their child(ren) are required to submit a portfolio of teaching logs and the child's work for review by the school district. The district reviews the logs for compliance with minimum educational hours and course requirements, but not for educational content.

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