NSBA Legal Clips
Archived entries for Student Rights & Discipline

Father of bullied student who committed suicide sues Illinois district and producers of anti-bullying video

The Claims Journal reports that Bradley Lewis, the father of high school student who committed suicide, has filed a wrongful death suit in federal court against Carterville school district and 3Screens.com, producers of an anti-bullying video, among others.

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Kentucky parents appeal local high school policy for use of facilities by transgender students

The Courier-Journal reports that a group of Kentucky parents and community members have appealed Atherton High School’s new policy that allows students to use the restroom and locker room of their sexual identity.

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Parents’ suit claims Pennsylvania district’s decision to expel son for violation of district’s weapons policy was discriminatory

According to The Patriot-News, the parents of an African-American student have filed suit against in federal court Susquehanna Township School District (STSD) charging the district applied its weapons policy in a racially discriminatory manner when it expelled their son who is African-American. Gregory and Clarice Webb’s suit is seeking $250,000 in damages.

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New York state’s highest court strikes down county’s law criminalizing cyberbullying on free speech grounds

In a 5-2 decision, New York’s Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court, has ruled that a county’s law criminalizing cyberbullying violates the First Amendment’s Free Speech Clause. The court held that the law was overbroad and vague. It found that the county had failed to meet its burden of showing that the law’s restrictions on speech survive strict scrutiny. According to the Court of Appeals, “the text of Albany County’s law envelops far more than acts of cyberbullying against children by criminalizing a variety of constitutionally-protected modes of expression.”

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Chicago school board’s new student discipline code reduces use of suspensions and expulsions

The Chicago Board of Education (CBOE) has approved a new student discipline code that reduces reliance on suspensions and expulsions, reports the Chicago Tribune. CBOE is calling on school district officials to persuade privately-run charter schools to adopt the board’s new approach to student discipline.

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Unanimous U.S. Supreme Court rules that police must obtain warrant before searching the cell phone of individual placed under arrest

In an unanimous decision, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled police must obtain a warrant before searching the cellphones of individuals placed under arrest, reports The New York Times. The decision in two consolidated cases, Riley v. California, Docket No. 13-132. and U.S. v. Wurie, Docket No. 13-212. Chief Justice Roberts, who wrote the Court’s opinion, acknowledged that cell phones are “… a pervasive and insistent part of daily life ….” Roberts pointed out that implicit in the Fourth Amendment is a revulsion against “general warrants,”and “[t]he fact that technology now allows an individual to carry such information in his hand does not make the information any less worthy of the protection for which the founders fought.”

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OCR conducting investigation into whether Florida district’s disciplinary practices are racially discriminatory

The Tampa Tribune reports that the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) is investigating Hillsborough County school district to determine if the district discriminates against African-American students by subjecting them to harsher discipline than white students and by denying access to experienced teachers for schools serving poorer students. The investigation is the result of a complaint filed by community activist Marilyn Williams, a retired educator who has served on the education committee for the local chapter of the NAACP.

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Federal suit charges Pennsylvania district’s superintendent failed to end sexting by teacher

According to The News Item, three former students have filed suit against Shamokin Area School District (SASD) and Superintendent James Zack claiming Zack failed to take disciplinary against a former substitute teacher Michael S. Zack, his nephew, when the superintendent learned he was sexting students. The suit also alleges that others in the district also became aware of the sexually explicit messages, including a teacher and a school board member, both unidentified in the lawsuit, but failed to take any action.

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Advocacy group plans to bring suit challenging New York state’s teacher tenure laws

The Partnership for Educational Justice (PEJ), headed by Campbell Brown, plans to mount a legal challenge to New York state’s teacher-tenure law and firing practices, calling into question whether those law run afoul the state constitution, reports the Poughkeepsie Journal. PEJ charges the state’s teacher-tenure system violates the constitutional right to a “sound, basic education.” The organization also plans to challenge the state’s “last in, first out” policy, which ties teacher layoffs to seniority rather than performance.

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U.S. Supreme Court declines to consider Seventh Circuit ruling that Wisconsin district is violating the Establishment Clause by holding graduations at local Christian Church

The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected Elmbrook School District’s (ESD) petition for certiorari asking the Court to review the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit’s decision that ESD’s practice of holding graduation ceremonies at a local Christian church is unconstitutional, reports the Journal Sentinel.

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