Articles Posted in Education Law

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The Eighth Circuit reversed the district court's denial of qualified immunity in an action under 42 U.S.C. 1983 alleging that UMKC's decision not to renew plaintiff's contract was in retaliation of his free speech rights as a public employee. The court held that plaintiff's speech regarding the school's preferential treatment of student athletes was unprotected speech done pursuant to his duties as a lecturer. Plaintiff failed to show, using the particularized inquiry required, that his right to make this speech in these circumstances was clearly established. In this case, defendants could reasonably conclude that plaintiff spoke solely as an aggrieved lecturer in asking the Chancellor to investigate grading policies for student athletes. View "Lyons v. Vaught" on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the dismissal of plaintiff's complaint alleging a Title IX student-on-student harassment claim against Culver-Stockton College after she was allegedly sexually assaulted by a Culver-Stockton student on campus. The court held that, assuming arguendo that plaintiff's status as a non-student did not preclude her from asserting a Title IX harassment claim, the complaint failed to state a plausible claim to survive dismissal under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6). In this case, plaintiff failed to plausibly allege that the college acted with deliberate indifference, the college had actual knowledge of discrimination, and that either the alleged misconduct or the college's response to plaintiff's allegations had the required systemic effect such that she was denied equal access to educational opportunities provided by the college. View "K.T. v. Culver-Stockton College" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff filed suit on behalf of her son, alleging that VICC's race-based, school-transfer policy violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's dismissal of the complaint, holding that plaintiff lacked standing because the mention of magnet schools and the generalized grievance about VICC's transfer policy for them was insufficient to allege an injury in fact. In this case, VICC had no administrative or supervisory authority over charter schools, which are independent public schools, governed by the state. Even if VICC's policy applied to charter schools, VICC still would not cause the son's injury because VICC does not make or adopt rules or regulations for charter schools. Because the son's injury was not fairly traceable to VICC, he lacked standing. View "E.L. v. Voluntary Interdistrict Choice Corporation" on Justia Law

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Minn. Stat. 125A.06(d), by its plain language, does not impose a heightened standard that burdens school districts with an absolute obligation to guarantee that each blind student will use the Braille instruction provided to attain a specific level of proficiency. I.Z.M. filed suit against the District, alleging claims under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and non-IDEA claims for relief under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. The Eighth Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of the District's motions for judgment on the administrative record on the IDEA claim and for summary judgment on the non-IDEA claims. In this case, the ALJ cited the state regulation and expressly concluded that the District took all reasonable steps to provide instructional materials in accessible formats in a timely manner. In regard to the non-IDEA claims, the district court used the correct standard and correctly concluded that I.Z.M. failed to present evidence of bad faith or gross misjudgment View "I.Z.M. v. Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan Public Schools" on Justia Law

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Minnesota state law grants a child attending a nonpublic school the right to a free appropriate education (FAPE), as well as the right to dispute the provisions of special education services in an impartial due process hearing. In this case, R.M.M. and her parents have a right, under both state and federal law, to an impartial due process hearing to dispute the provision of a FAPE by MPS. Accordingly, the court affirmed the district court's judgment. View "Special School District No. 1 v. R.M.M." on Justia Law

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The Eighth Circuit affirmed the grant of summary judgment in favor of the YMCA in plaintiff's public accommodation suit under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. 12101 et seq. Plaintiff argued that the YMCA's blanket policy of requiring a child's individualized education program (IEP) before admitting the child to its summer camp programs was discriminatory because the IEP in effect serves to screen out children with disabilities from the YMCA summer camp programs. The district court correctly determined that the YMCA took no adverse action against plaintiff's child. Assuming that plaintiff's request to provide less information than the entire IEP was a request for an accommodation, plaintiff failed to establish that the YMCA failed to unreasonably accommodate the child where the YMCA offered to modify the policy as long as it obtained the information it deemed necessary to accommodate the child. View "Koester v. Young Men's Christian Assoc." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff, on behalf of her minor son J.M., filed suit against the School District, alleging unlawful use of isolation and physical restraints, in violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment; 42 U.S.C. 1983 and 1988; the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 42 U.S.C. 12182; Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. 701 et seq.; and the Missouri Human Rights Act (MHRA), RSMo 213.010 et seq. The district court dismissed the federal claims and declined to exercise supplemental jurisdiction over the MHRA claim. In this case, plaintiff did not file an Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), 20 U.S.C. 1400 et seq., due process complaint, request a due process hearing, or engage in the exhaustion procedures under the IDEA. The court concluded that because the complaint sought relief available under the IDEA, denial of a free appropriate public education (FAPE), the claims were subject to exhaustion, barring an applicable exception. The court rejected plaintiff's futility and inadequate remedy arguments and affirmed the district court's dismissal of the complaint for failure to exhaust administrative remedies. View "J.M. v. Francis Howell School District" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff was removed from the Associate Degree Nursing Program for behavior unbecoming of the profession and transgression of professional boundaries after CLC received student complaints about plaintiff's posts on his Facebook page. Plaintiff filed suit alleging violations of his First Amendment rights and due process. After some defendants were dismissed, the district court granted summary judgment to the remaining defendants. The court concluded that, given the strong state interest in regulating health professions, teaching and enforcing viewpoint-neutral professional codes of ethics are a legitimate part of a professional school’s curriculum that do not, at least on their face, run afoul of the First Amendment; plaintiff made no allegation, and presented no evidence, that defendants’ reliance on the Nurses Association Code of Ethics was a pretext for viewpoint, or any other kind of discrimination; college administrators and educators in a professional school have discretion to require compliance with recognized standards of the profession, both on and off campus, so long as their actions are reasonably related to legitimate pedagogical concerns; plaintiff's contention, that his offensive Facebook posts were unrelated to any course assignment or requirements, is factually flawed where the posts were directed at classmates, involved their conduct in the Nursing Program, and included a physical threat related to their medical studies; plaintiff's statements had a direct impact on the students' educational experience and had the potential to impact patient care; and the First Amendment did not bar educator Frisch from making the determination that plaintiff was unable to meet the professional demands of being a nurse. The court rejected plaintiff's due process and remaining claims. Accordingly, the court affirmed the judgment. View "Keefe v. Adams" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs appealed the district court's order granting the District's motion to approve the closure of Wilmot Elementary School and to modify the gifted and talented (GT) requirements for the District. In 1988, plaintiffs filed suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983, alleging race discrimination and other claims. The parties negotiated a settlement and, in 1991, the district court entered a Consent Order disposing of issues remaining in the complaint. In this case, the district court approved closure of Wilmot and modification of the GT program as the proper modification of the Consent Order due to the significant changed circumstances. The court concluded that such modification is suitably tailored where the modifications sought by the school district in light of the (1) demographic changes, (2) decrease in enrollment, (3) cost savings, and (4) educational considerations are in line with the initial Consent Order. Accordingly, the court held that the district court did not abuse its discretion in granting the District's motion to approve closure of Wilmot and to modify the GT requirements. The court affirmed the judgment. View "Mays v. Hamburg Sch. Dist." on Justia Law

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After the school districts sought termination of the Garland County School Desegregation Case Comprehensive Settlement Agreement and relief from the district court’s 1992 order enforcing it, the district court denied the school districts' Rule 60(b)(5) motion. The district court rejected the school districts' argument that the Agreement is no longer just or equitable to give the 1992 order or the Agreement prospective application in light of the repeal of the Arkansas School Choice Act of 1989 (School Choice Act), Ark. Code Ann. 6-18-206 (repealed 2013). The court concluded that the school districts have presented no evidence that they have either fully complied or that there have been changed circumstances in those other areas of the Agreement. Therefore, termination of the entire Agreement would be supported by nothing more than the notion that it is no longer convenient to live with. The court affirmed the judgment. View "W.T. Davis v. Cutter Morning Star Sch." on Justia Law