NSBA Legal Clips
Archived entries for Fourteenth Amendment

Federal appellate court affirms dismissal of student’s claims against Mississippi district; no constitutional duty to protect student from sexual abuse by a private individual under “special relationship” theory

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit (LA, MS, TX), sitting en banc (all active judges participating in considering and deciding the case), has ruled that a school district did not have a constitutional duty to protect an elementary school student from sexual abuse by a private actor based on the constitutional theory that the school had a special relationship with the student.

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Federal appellate court rules Wisconsin district did not violate former student’s due process rights by banning him from school property

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has ruled that a school district did not violate a former student’s substantive due process by indefinitely banning him from school property.

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Students sue Missouri district after discipline based on off-campus blog

Brian and Linda Wilson, the parents of the twin honor roll students, have filed a federal lawsuit against Lee’s Summit R-7 School District (LSR-7SD), says Courthouse News Service, alleging the school district violated their sons’ First and Fourteenth Amendment when it suspended them for 180 days for setting up and running a nonviolent website on their own time and on their own computers. The suit asks a federal court to reinstate the students and remove the suspension from their permanent records.

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National Christian advocacy group files legal challenge to Virginia district’s community service policy

Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) has filed suit in federal court against the Fairfax County School Board (FCSB), reportsThe Washington Post, charging the board’s community service policy discriminates against students who volunteer with religious organizations. “If you are doing community work that is part of a church service, you can’t be given credit,” said ADF’s Matt Sharp.

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Federal district court holds student stated valid claim for violation of substantive due process based on sexual relationship with guidance counselor, despite age

A federal district court in Massachusetts has ruled that a female student has stated a valid claim for violation of Fourteenth Amendment substantive due process rights, as well as violation of Title IX, based on the student’s sexual relationship with a school guidance counselor, even though the student was over the age of consent at the time of the relationship.

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Parents of disabled student file suit against Georgia district claiming abuse by special education teachers caused son’s death

According to Courthouse News Service, Ronald and Arthalia Hatcher claim their son died from abuse suffered at the hands of two special education teachers. They have filed suit in Fulton County State Court against the Fulton County School District, the Fulton County School Board, the district’s superintendent, two special education teachers, and 15 other Fulton County public school employees.

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Utah federal district court grants summary judgment to school resource officer in case brought by parents of deceased student

A federal district court in Utah has granted summary judgment in favor of a high school’s special resource officer in a suit brought by the parents of a deceased student claiming that the officer violated the student’s substantive due process rights by creating a danger. The court held that the officer’s actions, i.e., recommending rules for the use of a “blank” firing gun during a school play and assuming they were being followed, not only did not create the danger, but were directed toward eliminating any danger that would have existed in the absence of his recommended rules.

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Federal appellate court rules female basketball players’ Title IX disparity claims may go forward

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit has ruled unanimously that two female basketball players have presented sufficient evidence for trial on their Title IX claim of denial of equal athletic opportunity against several Indiana school districts based on disparity in scheduling boys’ and girls’ basketball games. The panel also found that the school districts were not entitled to Eleventh Amendment sovereign immunity from the players’ equal protection claim based on the scheduling disparity.

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Religious group suing Arizona district over policy banning distribution of religious materials

Child Evangelism Fellowship of Arizona (CEF-AZ) has filed suit against Dysart Unified School District (DUSD) in federal court over the school district’s policy that bans the distribution of flyers with a religious message, says the Phoenix New Times. CEF-AZ’s legal complaint alleges that while DUSD allows other community groups to pass out flyers to students, it unconstitutionally discriminates against religious groups.

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Federal appellate court upholds Kentucky state athletic association’s bylaw capping “merit-based” financial aid private school students may receive and maintain athletic elligibility

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit has ruled that a state athletic association’s bylaw limiting the amount of “merit-based” financial aid a private school student may receive to maintain athletic eligibility does not violate students’ First and Fourteenth Amendment rights.

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