The mother of a Hononegah High School (HHS) student has filed suit against Hononegah School District (HSD), according to the Rockford Register Star, alleging HSD failed to adequately address a racist joke told by her daughter’s Algebra teacher during class.The incident was previously investigated by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights, which reached a settlement agreement with the district in October, 2010.
The Manatee Education Association (MEA) has filed suit in state court challenging the constitutionality of a proposed Manatee school district policy governing how teachers use Facebook and other social networking websites. The suit contends the policy would violate teachers’ freedom of speech rights. The proposed policy that would prohibit teachers from posting negative statements or photos about the district, employees or students from their home or work computers on sites such as Facebook and Twitter.
The Modesto Bee reports that Denair Unified School District (DUSD) Superintendent Ed Parraz took responsibility for a flag dispute at Denair Middle School that drew national attention. Speaking at an emergency school board meeting, he said, “I want to especially apologize to the veterans … and every single veteran serving all over the world.” The controversy began after a yard supervisor told 13-year-old Cody Alicea he had to remove the U.S. flag attached to the back of his bicycle.
The New York Times reports that the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) has filed complaints with the U.S. Department of Education (ED) charging that 12 school districts nationwide, including New York, Chicago and Houston, are violating Title IX by failing to offer equal opportunities to boys and girls who play high school sports. NWLC filed the complaints with ED’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR), which is tasked with enforcing the gender-equity law. The complaint relies on data that school districts reported to ED in 2006, the most recent year that the data was available. NWLC contends that the data shows in many cases a participation gap of more than 10 percentage points.
In a per curiam decision (opinion “by the court,” unsigned by identified justices), a U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit three-judge panel has ruled that a school district, which had offered a student all requested relief under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), was a prevailing party for purposes of recovering attorneys fees under IDEA from the student’s attorney, and was entitled to such fees because the attorney “continued to litigate claims after they clearly became frivolous, unreasonable, and without foundation.” The panel concluded that because the attorney had conceded in the district court that the school district was a prevailing party under IDEA, it had waived this threshhold issue on appeal.
A federal district court in Michigan has issued a preliminary injunction ordering a school district to allow a student to distribute religious flyers to fellow students during non-instructional time and to grant the parent access to a so-called “flyer forum,” through which outside organizations submit flyers to the school for distribution to students. The court concluded that the plaintiffs had demonstrated a likelihood of success on the merits of their First Amendment claim that the school district’s practice of prohibiting distribution of religious materials at any time, place or manner in its schools amounted to constitutionally impermissible viewpoint discrimination.
Three education groups are seeking to join a lawsuit filed against the state of Idaho by state representative Shirley Ringo (D) in which she alleges that well-connected taxpayers have received favorable settlements from the state in violation of equal protection principles, reports the Associated Press in Education Week. Claiming that the tax deals described in the lawsuit resulted in less revenue for the state, specifically less funding for public education, the Idaho Education Association, the Idaho Federation of Teachers and a local chapter of the American Federation of Teachers filed motions in state trial court to intervene in the case as plaintiffs.
In the second week of November, 2010, hundreds of school districts have yet to file anti-bullying plans, while the state has missed a key training deadline, six months into the enactment of the highly touted law to stop the relentless taunting and assaults of students, says the Boston Herald. With just weeks to go before the final deadline for the filing of Bullying Prevention and Intervention plans, just “three or four” of 393 school districts have come forward with them.
Although President Obama and Washington D.C.’s mayor-elect Vincent Gray have opposed private school vouchers for D.C. students, the Washington Times reports that a voucher program enjoys widespread support among the incoming U.S. House Republican majority. A spokeswoman for Rep. John Kline (R-MN), likely chairman of the House Education and Labor Committee, said Kline and other House leaders continue to support the D.C. Opportunity Scholarship program and intend to pursue its revival.
Jefferson Parish Public Schools’ four year quest to be released from a 1971 federal desegregation order is in danger of failing as a result of allegations that qualified black students were denied admission to one of the school district’s advanced academies, says the New Orleans Times Picayune.