Academic journal article Journal of Law and Education

Recent Decisions- PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION

Academic journal article Journal of Law and Education

Recent Decisions- PRIMARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION

Article excerpt

Constitutional Claims and Civil Rights

Mother and student sued board of education alleging board's indifference to sexual harassment. A student alleged she was raped by two fellow students. Thereafter, she complained of verbal harassment based on her sex and related to the alleged rape. The harassment continued for five weeks before school authorities took any action. Held: For the student. The board's deliberate indifference to known acts of harassment subjected the student to a hostile educational environment that barred her access to educational opportunities and benefits. Doe v. East Haven Bd. of Educ, 200 Fed. Appx. 46 (2d Cir. 2006).

Parent sued board of education for allegedly violating daughter's right to be free from sexual harassment. Female student was threatened and physically confronted by students of the same sex. The school attempted to control the problem through counseling and suspension. The sexual harassment continued and one parent brought suit against the school board for violation of civil rights. Held: For the parent. Student had a right to be free from sexual harassment committed by a member of the same sex, when it was severe and pervasive enough to deny educational benefits and the school acted with deliberate indifference to the known acts of harassment. Riccio v. New Haven Bd. of Educ, 467 F. Supp. 2d 219 (D. Conn. 2006).

Mother filed complaint alleging school district violated a state discrimination law. Student was subjected to homosexual epithets, physical attacks, and molestation for several years. The school board counseled and suspended students, but the harassment continued. Mother complained that the school district failed to stop the harassment. Held: For the mother and student. A school district can be hable for peer sexual orientation harassment when they know of the harassment and fail to take reasonable steps to stop it. L. W. ex rei LG. v. Toms River Regi Sch. Bd. of Educ, 915 A.2d. 535 (N.J. 2007).

Mother and child brought suit regarding teacher's alleged use of physical force on autistic child. An autistic child and his mother claimed a public school teacher physically abused the child on multiple occasions. Although the public school officials knew of the teacher's behavior, they did not stop or prevent the abuse until a significant amount of time passed. Held: For the student. The court found the teacher's use of force was unreasonable as a punishment and therefore violated the student's constitutional rights. Additionally, the school officials' failure to remove or reprimand the teacher was a violation of constitutional law. Preschooler II v. Clark Co. Sch. Bd. Of Trustees, 479 F.3d 1175 (9th Cir. 2007).

Student sued school district and school officials for allegedly violating her Fourteenth and Fourth Amendment rights following rape on school grounds. While staying after school, student was sexually assaulted by another student. Following the attack, a school official questioned the student without her mother's permission. Held: For the school and school officials. The school did not violate the student's Fourteenth Amendment rights because it did not have an affirmative duty to protect students from harm from other students especially after school hours. The student's Fourth Amendment rights were aiso not violated because the school officials acted reasonably in questioning the student about the attack as they had a strong interest in promptly investigating student on student violence. Wilson v. Cahokia Sch. Dist., 470 F. Supp. 2d 897 (S.D. 111. 2007).

Parents and their minor children sued school district and school employees for damages related to alleged false reporting of child abuse. School district employees filed a claim that a minor child of one of the parents had been sexually abused. The child was taken into protective custody and an extensive investigation followed. Parents alleged the claim was false and sought damages. …

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