The US Supreme Court ruled unanimously that Christine Franklin could sue her school district for failing to halt a teacher's sexual advances when she was a student at
filed a complaint, the school district had opened an investigation of the teacher, Andrew Hill, but closed the investigation when Hill agreed to resign on condition that all matters pending against him were dropped.
then went to district court, stating she was the victim, and had been left without any possibility of redress for the wrong she had suffered. The case was brought under Title IX of the 1972 federal Education Act, that bars sexual discrimination in schools that receive federal funding. The district court and the appeals court both ruled that Title IX did not authorize the award of damages. But the Supreme Court disagreed, ruling that she could demand restitution for the injury inflicted on her, and the courts should decide what damages should be paid.
Read the decision: http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?court=US&vol=503&invol=60
SEXUAL HARASSMENT (US SUPREME COURT)
Board of Education (1999)
In a 5-4 ruling that left the US Supreme Court bitterly divided, the majority of the court decided that school districts do have an obligation to protect students from peer-to-peer sexual harassment. The court ruled that schools can be sued under Title IX of the 1972 Education Act barring sexual discrimination if it can be shown that the sexual harassment is "so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively bars the victim's access to an educational opportunity or benefit," and school officials have done nothing to stop it, but instead acted with deliberate indifference. The case involved LaShonda Davis, a fifth grader in a
school, who, over a period of five months, was taunted so severely that her grades dropped and she contemplated suicide. School officials did nothing in response to her mother's complaints.
Listen to the oral arguments: http://www.oyez.org/cases/1990-1999/1998/1998_97_843
Read the decision: http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?court=us&vol=000&invol=97-843
FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
In 2007, the US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit ruled that a Roswell High School student could be suspended for ten days for writing a story in which a character dreamed about killing her mathematics teacher. The student maintained that the story entitled “Dream” was a piece of “creative fiction.” But the Appeals Court ruled that in light of the school shootings over the past eight years, her speech could reasonably be seen as a threat of school violence.
(The US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit has jurisdiction in Alabama and Florida as well as Georgia).
FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
were suspended for posting to a website created off school grounds which served as a place where students could vent about a particular teacher. The ACLU brought a lawsuit arguing that there was no evidence of substantial disruption or imminent danger in the school and that the students should not be punished for their off-campus speech. The school district then initiated an out-of-court settlement proceeding.
The ACLU has brought a lawsuit on behalf of an honor student in the Gwinnett Country school district who has been repeatedly subjected to disciplinary actions by
officials for wearing clothing associated with African American culture. The school district has refused to publish a list of prohibited clothing, and the lawsuit argues that the dress code is too broad.
In 2000, 11-year-old Ashley Smith was suspended from
for having a ten inch chain dangling from her Tweety Bird key ring. Three days later, the officials reversed themselves and agreed that the chain did not appear a dangerous weapon. By this time Ashley's parents had denounced the school's zero tolerance policy, and enrolled her elsewhere.
The ACLU is representing two students who were suspended for cutting a birthday cake with a knife that was present at the school. They may also face criminal charges.