Academic journal article Journal of Law and Education

Recent Decisions - ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION

Academic journal article Journal of Law and Education

Recent Decisions - ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY EDUCATION

Article excerpt

Constitutional Claims and Civil Rights

Forty year-old African-American woman sued school district for race, gender, and age discrimination after not being hired as superintendent. A school district's stated reason for not hiring a candidate as superintendent was that she was not already employed within the district. Held: For the school district. Although the woman was a member of a protected class, was qualified for the position, and was not chosen for the position, her claim failed because she presented no evidence that gave rise to an inference of discrimination. The woman was unable to show any similarly situated individuals outside of her protected class that were treated more favorably. All other candidates were already employees of the school district, which was a legitimate and nondiscriminatory requirement for the position. Royster v. Laurel Highlands Sch. Dist., 994 F. Supp. 2d 701 (W.D. Pa. 2014).

Employee suffering from depression sued school district alleging that he was discriminated against, subjected to hostile work environment, atid retaliated against in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), ADA Amendments Act, and the Pennsylvania Human Relations Act (PHRA). An employee sued his school district after his job responsibilities were reduced and he was dismissed while on disability leave. The school district moved for summary judgment, claiming that the employee's responsibilities were reduced as part of the school's decision to outsource its maintenance work. Held: For the school district. The employee's ADA claim was dismissed because he failed to show that he was mistreated because of his disability. Similarly, his PHRA claim was dismissed because he was not considered disabled under PHRA guidelines. Finally, the employee failed to show that the school district's reason for terminating him was illegitimate. Both retaliation claims were dismissed because the employee could not show a causal link between the protected activity and the alleged retaliatory acts. Rubano v. Farrell Area Sch. Dist., 991 F. Supp. 2d 678 (W.D. Pa. 2014).

School district appealed reversal of finding that teachers engaged in misconduct during labor demonstration. Teachers protested against a school district for two years to express their dissatisfaction with collec- tive bargaining process. The school district disciplined the teachers after they protested by blocking a student-drop off area with their vehicles. The teachers appealed, arguing that the school district had infringed upon their First Amendment rights. Held: For the school district. The teachers' speech was not protected because even though it concerned an issue of public importance, the need for student safety outweighed the teachers' rights. The school district's ability to operate the school safely and effectively was threatened when the teachers blocked the student drop-off area. Sanier v. Bd. of Educ. of E. Meadow Union Free Sch. Dist., 990 N.Y.S.2d 442 (N.Y. 2014).

Principal appealed denial of her motion to dismiss student's claims that principal violated student's free speech rights when she disciplined student for protesting against sexual orientation bullying. After a student was suspended, she claimed that the principal of the school violated her right to free speech by directing teachers to report protesting students. The principal filed a motion to dismiss the claim, arguing that she had qualified immunity, and that she was not directly responsible for the student's suspension. Held: For the student. The principal could be sued in her individual capacity because it could reasonably be inferred that the principal knowingly caused or failed to prevent the student's suspension. Hatcher ex rel. Hatcher v. Fusco, 570 F. App'x 874 (11th Cir. 2014) (unpublished).

In teacher's suit alleging that his Fourth and Fifth Amendment rights had been violated in search of his classroom, teacher appealed from grant of summary judgment in favor of school district and officials. …

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