Academic journal article Journal of Law and Education

Recent Decisions - PRIMARY & SECONDARY EDUCATION

Academic journal article Journal of Law and Education

Recent Decisions - PRIMARY & SECONDARY EDUCATION

Article excerpt

Constitutional Claims & Civil Rights

Parent, individually and on student's behalf, sued school district alleging violation of First Amendment. The school district denied the parent and student permission to distribute flyers concerning church-sponsored activities in student take-home folders and in the elementary school's literature distribution rack. The parent sought an injunction against the school so they could distribute the flyers. Held: For the parent. As the school presented no evidence that disseminating the flyers would substantially interfere with the work of the school, the school could not restrict the distribution of materials regarding church-sponsored events. Further, because the school allowed all other organizations but churches to distribute materials in school, the regulation violated the requirement that restrictions on speech in a non-public forum must be viewpoint neutral. Wright v. Pulaski Co. Spec. Sch. Dist., 803 F. Supp. 2d 980 (E.D. Ark. 2011).

Church-affiliated school appealed overturned judgment in EEOC suit for Americans with Disabilities Act violation. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) sued a church-affiliated school on behalf of a teacher fired by the school while on disability leave. Because the teacher was considered a commissioned minister, the school claimed the suit was barred by ministerial exemption, which precluded disability claims regarding the employment relationship between a religious institution and its ministers. The appellate court overturned the lower court's summary judgment for the school and the school appealed. Held: For the school. The EEOC violated the First Amendment prohibition on government involvement in ecclesiastical decisions by imposing hiring decisions on the church-affiliated school regarding its ministers. The ministerial exception applied to the teacher because her job title and duties reflected religious training and formal commissioning, the church held her out as a minister, and the teacher held herself out as a minister of the church. Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and Sch. v. EEOC, 132 S.Ct. 694 (2012).

State appealed order granting student's motion to suppress evidence acquired during a search by school officials. The student was charged with possession of a controlled substance after he was found with methadone on school property. The school maintained that they had reasonable suspicion that the student was in violation of school policy after he was found with a lighter and the State claimed that the search performed was an administrative search pursuant to school policy. The trial court granted the student's motion to suppress the evidence obtained during the search. Held: For the State. An administrative search is a search conducted as a result of a policy made by a politically accountable body, such as a school board, and not by law enforcement. An administrative search does not require a warrant because it falls within the warrant exception. Because the search in question was an administrative search, the evidence was admissible and need not be suppressed. State v. B.A.H., 263 P.3d 1046 (Or. App. 2011).

School district appealed denial of motion to dismiss student's claims of due process violations. A student was suspended for 10 days without a hearing after accidentally running over an African-American student's foot. The school board later held a hearing, affirming the suspension. The student appealed the decision but was denied a hearing for the appeal. The student argued the district's decision was based on racial bias and he had a due process right to appeal his suspension. School officials claimed they were entitled to qualified immunity. Held: For the student in part and for the school district in part. The school district was not entitled to qualified immunity because the student stated valid claims of established constitutional rights. The student's due process claim was valid because it was unclear whether the principal provided the notice required. …

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