Articles Posted in Education Law

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After injuring another student, a public high school student was cited for an infraction of the student conduct rule proscribing reckless endangerment. The principal's decision to suspend the student for ten days was upheld by a hearing board and the director of schools. Thereafter, the student and his family sought judicial review of the disciplinary decision. The trial court concluded (1) the school officials had violated the student's procedural due process rights because one official had performed both prosecutorial and decision-making functions and because this official was biased against the student; and (2) the evidence did not support the conclusion that the student's conduct amounted to reckless endangerment. Accordingly, the court directed the school system to expunge the student's record and awarded the student and his family attorneys' fees and costs. The court of appeals reversed. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding (1) the student received the required due process protections before he was suspended; (2) the hearing process after the student was suspended as applied did not render the proceedings fundamentally unfair; and (3) the court of appeals did not err by overturning the trial court's conclusion that the school officials acted arbitrarily and illegally.View "Heyne v. Metro. Nashville Bd. of Pub. Educ." on Justia Law

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Plaintiff was a tenured teacher who worked for Defendant, the Memphis City Schools Board of Education. After Plaintiff requested and was granted a substantial amount of sick leave but failed to return from that sick leave, Defendant dismissed Plaintiff without providing her with written charges or an opportunity for a hearing. Plaintiff filed a complaint alleging that her dismissal violated the Tennessee Teacher Tenure Act and her constitutional due process rights. The trial court granted Plaintiff's motion for partial summary judgment and awarded Plaintiff's reinstatement, back pay, compensatory damages for the actual harm she suffered, and attorney's fees. The court of appeals vacated the grant of summary judgment. The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the court of appeals and reinstated the judgment of the trial court, holding (1) although a tenured teacher's failure to return from sick leave may constitute cause for termination, there is no statute authorizing a board of education to deem it a constructive resignation or a forfeiture of tenure; and (2) accordingly, Defendant violated Plaintiff's rights under the Tenure Act and her constitutional due process rights. View "Thompson v. Memphis City Schs. Bd. of Educ." on Justia Law