NSBA Legal Clips
Archived entries for Minnesota

Federal district court rules African-American student has valid Title VI racial dicrimination claim against Minnesota district based on hostile environment

A Minnesota federal district court has ruled that an African-American student has stated a valid a Title VI claim for a racially hostile environment against the school district, but not the superintendent in his individual capacity. The court rejected the student’s Section 1983 equal protection claim on the ground that it was too vague to provide the defendants with sufficient notice of the alleged unconstitutional conduct.

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Minnesota district’s proposed revision of controversial topics policy that would allow more open discussion of sexual orientation draws criticism

According to the Crookston Times, Anoka-Hennepin School District (AHSD), which is the target of a suit alleging that its policy limiting discussion of sexual orientation in the classroom led to the bullying of gay students, has proposed a policy revision recognizing the need to discuss openly controversial topics. The proposed policy has been attacked by both sides.

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Escalating online student feud leads to suspensions at Minnesota high school

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that ten Coon Rapids High School students have been suspended after a volley of harassing comments and threats on Facebook, the latest in a string of incidents that have jolted the Anoka-Hennepin School District over the past two years. The online dispute, which involved students posting invective and obscenity-laced insults, escalated into a shouting match on a stairway at the school before teachers intervened.

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Minnesota federal district court upholds school district’s restrictions on outside religious group’s access to after school program

A federal district court in Minnesota has denied an outside religious organization’s motion for a preliminary injunction that would require a school district to grant it the additional benefits provided to participants in the after school program. A federal district court in Minnesota has denied an outside religious organization’s motion for a preliminary injunction that would require a school district to grant it the additional benefits provided to participants in the after school program. The court determined that the school district had created a limited designated public forum when it set up its after school program, which allowed it to restrict access to the forum provided the restrictions were reasonable and viewpoint neutral. The court also found it “likely that the District could demonstrate that [the organization’s] participation in the After-School Program violates the Establishment Clause.”

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Embattled Minnesota charter school throws in towel in fight over closure

According to the Westport News, the board of Tarek ibn Ziyad Academy, a charter school that has fought claims that it improperly promoted religion, has voted to end its legal battle to overturn the decision by the Minnesota Department Education (MDE) to close the school.

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African-American student’s federal class action suit alleges Minnesota school district sanctioned racist homecoming event

According to Courthouse News Service, Quera Pruitt, an African-American student at Red Wing High School, has filed a class action lawsuit in federal court alleging Red Wing School ISD No. 256 allowed students at Red Wing High School to hold “Wigger Days” for homecoming , the word stands for “white nigger,” during which white students wore clothes and acted in what “from their perspective, mimicked black culture.”

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Civil rights groups sue Minnesota school district on behalf of students who allege bullying based on sexual orientation

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and the National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) have filed suit in federal court against Anoka-Hennepin School District (AHSD) on behalf of five current and former students, claiming the district failed to do enough for students bullied because of their perceived or actual sexual orientation. The suit seeks to end the district’s sexual orientation curriculum policy, which allows teachers to discuss sexual orientation issues but requires them to maintain neutrality.

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Federal district court rules that Minnesota law prohibiting out of state charitable organizations from serving as charter school sponsors/authorizers does not violate U.S. Constitution

A federal district court in Minnesota has denied a charter school’s motions for a temporary restraining order (TRO) and preliminary injunction (PI) to bar the state from enforcing a provision of its charter school law making non-profit corporations incorporated outside of Minnesota ineligible to authorize (sponsor) charter schools. It declined to ban enforcement of this so-called “Minnesota incorporation provision” on the ground that the charter school seeking the injunctive relief had failed to demonstrate a likelihood of success on the merits of its four federal constitutional claims.

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Two civil rights groups target Minnesota school district over its sexual orientation policy

The Pioneer Press reports that the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and National Center for Lesbian Rights (NCLR) have sent a letter to Anoka-Hennepin School District (AHSD) asking it to repeal its “Sexual Orientation Curriculum Policy” or face legal action. SPLC and NCLR contend the policy, which instructs school staff, “in the course of their professional duties…to remain neutral on matters regarding sexual orientation,” perpetuates a hostile environment for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender students.

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Report finds Minnesota anti-bullying law ineffective; MSBA policy fills in gaps

A six month investigation by Minnesota Public Radio News (MPR News) of bullying policies across the state found a patchwork of policies that don’t always incorporate the newest research on bullying. There is virtually no tracking of bullying incidents by Minnesota school districts. Critics say that makes it impossible to gauge how effective schools are at preventing bullying. In Minnesota, most school districts use a model policy created by the Minnesota School Boards Association (MSBA). The MSBA model policy fills in the void in several areas where the state’s law falls short.

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