NSBA Legal Clips
Archived entries for Fourteenth Amendment

Federal appellate court holds Iowa school district did not violate noncustodial parent’s constitutional rights by denying access to children and records

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit has ruled that a school district did not violate a noncustodial parent’s substantive due process, procedural due process, or equal protection rights when school officials denied her access to her children during school hours and denied her access to their educational records.

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Federal appellate court reverses award of attorney’s fees to defendants because one of plaintiff’s claims had merit

In a unpublished, nonprecedential per curiam (unsigned) decision, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has ruled that a district court’s awarding of attorney’s fees to the defendants on the grounds that all of the plaintiff’s claims were frivolous was erroneous. The panel found that the plaintiff had made a colorable, although ultimately unsuccessful, First Amendment claim.

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Missouri school board returns books previously banned to secure area of library

According to the Springfield News-Leader, the Republic school board, in a 6-0 vote, approved returning two controversial books to Republic High School’s library. However, the books will be stored in a secure section of the library and only accessible to parents.

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Student sues Wisconsin school district over “I [heart] Boobies!” bracelet ban

A middle School student who was banned from wearing a bracelet that promotes breast cancer awareness has filed suit in federal court against Sauk Prairie school district, reports the Sauk Prairie Eagle.

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Federal appellate court rules student given ten day suspension stated valid procedural due process and equal protection claims based on decision-makers’ racial bias

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit (MI, OH, KY, TN), in a three-judge panel decision, has ruled that a high school student suspended for 10 days after he accidentally struck another student with his car has stated valid claims for violation of his procedural due process rights and equal protection rights based on racial bias.

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Federal appellate court holds principal did not retaliate in violation of student’s free speech rights by temporarily removing from class or reporting parents after learning of essay depicting violent suicide

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit (NY, VT, CT) has ruled that a middle school principal did not retaliate against a student in violation of his First Amendment free speech rights when, after learning that the student had composed an essay in class depicting the student’s violent suicide, he temporarily removed the student from class and reported the student’s parents to the state Department of Child and Family Services (CFS) for suspected child abuse. It also ruled that the principal had not violated the parents’ Fourteenth Amendment substantive due process rights.

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Federal appellate court rejects suit by Idaho charter school, teacher, parent and student seeking to overturn state ban on inclusion of religious texts in school’s curriculum

In an unpublished opinion, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (CA, OR, WA, AZ, MT, ID, NV, AK, HI, GU, MP) has ruled that an Idaho public charter school is a political subdivision of the state and, therefore, is a government entity incapable of bringing suit against the state. It further concluded that a charter school teacher had standing to sue. Nevertheless, the panel held that the free speech claim brought by the teacher, parent and student failed because the First Amendment’s Free Speech Clause does not give them the right to have religious texts included in the school’s curriculum.

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Non-union teachers mount federal court class action challenge to Ohio union’s right to collect fair share fees

The Columbus Dispatch reports that a group of teachers, receiving legal assistance from the National Right to Work Foundation (NRWF), has filed a class action suit in federal court alleging that so-called fair-share fees taken from their paychecks by the Ohio Education Association (OEA) are unlawfully being used to finance campaigns, lobby elected officials, and similar efforts.

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Federal appellate court rules California university’s denial of official recognition to Christian groups for failure to comply with school’s nondiscrimination policy was constitutional

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (CA, OR, WA, AZ, MT, ID, NC, AK, HI, GU, MP) has held that San Diego State University (SDSU) did not violate the First and Fourteenth Amendment rights of a Christian sorority and fraternity by denying the organizations official recognition based on their failure to comply with the university’s nondiscrimination policy. The panel also ruled that the student organizations had “raised a triable issue of fact as to whether the narrower policy was selectively enforced in this particular case, thereby violating Plaintiffs’ rights under the First and Fourteenth Amendments.”

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African-American student files racial discrimination suit against Arkansas school district over sharing valedictorian honors with white student

According to Courthouse News Service, Kymberly Wimberly, a 2011 graduate of McGehee Secondary School, has filed suit in federal court against McGehee School District (MSD), alleging MSD engaged in racial discrimination when it named a white student co-valedictorian even though that student had a lower G.P.A. than Wimberly, who is African-American. The suit charges that despite Wimberly having the highest G.P.A. of the Class of 2011, “school administrators and personnel treated two other white students as heir[s] apparent to the valedictorian and salutatorian spots.”

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