Posts Tagged ‘schools’

That’s so — er, stupid.

Rebekah Rice, a high school freshman, was teased about being Mormon. She responded by saying, “That’s so gay.” She was reprimanded by the school principal, and a “notation” was put in her file. She was upset, but she got over it. Ha! Just kidding. This is Overlawyered. Actually, she filed a lawsuit, claiming her constitutional rights (to call things gay?) were violated.

It’s not clear what sort of “notation” was put in her file, but the lawsuit demanded (in addition, of course, to money) that it be expunged. In the abstract, one might be sympathetic to the notion that informing college admissions offices that she was punished for using derogatory slurs might be damaging to her future prospects. (Rice denies — credibly, in my view — that the phrase was aimed at gay students.) Except, of course, that filing a lawsuit is hardly the way to keep her disciplinary history a secret.

(Previous posts about teenagers suing over school discipline: Feb. 22; Jan. 5)

February 26 roundup

  • High-school basketball player gets TRO over enforcement of technical foul after pushing referee. [Huntington News; Chad @ WaPo]
  • Madison County court rejects Vioxx litigation tourism. [Point of Law]
  • Faking disability for accommodation disqualifies bar applicant [Frisch]
  • DOJ antitrust enforcement doesn’t seem to be consistent with U.S. trade policy position. [Cafe Hayek]
  • Professor falsely accused of sexual harassment wins defamation lawsuit against former plaintiff, but too late to save his job. [Kirkendall]
  • Watch what you say dept.: Disbarred attorney and ex-felon sues newspaper, letter-to-editor writer, Illinois Civil Justice League. (His brother won the judicial election anyway.) [Madison County Record; Belleville News Democrat; US v. Amiel Cueto]

“Bill would fine parents who skip school conferences”

Truancy laws for grown-ups in Texas? “A Houston-area legislator wants to subject parents to criminal charges for skipping a scheduled meeting with their child’s teacher. Rep. Wayne Smith, R-Baytown, said it is time for the state to crack down on Texans who are shirking their parental responsibilities by failing to meet with the teacher when their child is having academic or disciplinary problems.” (Terrence Stutz, Dallas Morning News, Jan. 30)(via Bullwinkle Blog).

Twins, 10, contest expulsion from university

Canada: ” Accusations of age discrimination are being lobbed at the University of Ottawa by 10-year-old twins who were registered in a course before being expelled in the fall. Sebastien and Douglas Foster filed complaints with the Ontario Human Rights Commission on the basis of age discrimination after the school deregistered them from the Science in Society course they had been attending.” The university said it had mistakenly allowed the youngsters to enroll in contravention of a policy requiring students to possess a high school degree or equivalent, and that it had offered to refund their tuition. The students had enrolled in an already controversial course informally known as the “Activism Course”, with the approval of its instructor, Prof. Denis Rancourt; asked by a reporter why he sought to study at the university, young Sebastien said he’s learned about ‘the Afghanistan war that’s going on and about how many animals are being killed for food and a lot of things.'” (Laura Czejak and Dave Pizer, “Twins, 10, cry foul over U of O expulsion”, Ottawa Sun, Jan. 30).

Notable quote

“We cannot permit federal lawsuits to be transformed into amorphous vehicles for the rectification of all alleged wrongs” — a three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit (Chief Judge James Edmondson and Judges James Hill and Phyllis Kravitch), refusing to declare Alabama’s property tax system an unconstitutional cause of racial segregation in its institutions of higher education. (Tom Gordon, “Appeals court says tax system doesn’t segregate”, Birmingham News, Feb. 1; “Ruling backs state in higher-ed case”, AP/Montgomery Advertiser, Feb. 2).

Non-work-related, says the ACLU

Richmond, Va.: “A high school art teacher has hired the ACLU to challenge his firing after a video of him moonlighting as a ‘butt-printing artist’ was widely circulated among his high school students.” Stephen Murmer was fired from his job at Monacan High School. (Matt Reed, “Backside artist to challenge firing”, AP/, Jan. 24).

Extra time on exams, cont’d

The “secret world of the ADA”: professors grading exams aren’t supposed to know whether a given test-taker got extra time as an accommodation, but there are often ways you can tell, says San Diego lawprof Gail Heriot, especially when the essay comes in twice as long as other students’. Still, when she tries to find out what percentage of her class is getting extra time — not asking for names, just a rough figure on what share — she’s told it’s “none of your business”. (The Right Coast, Jan. 10). More: Jun. 2 and Dec. 8, 2006, among many others.

Title IX and cheerleading

Once again Title IX spoils the fun for kids of both sexes, this time in the realm of cheerleading, where school officials, reports the New York Times, are “redefining the role of cheerleaders in response to parental and legal pressures” — in particular, they’re requiring that cheerleaders be forced to devote half their time to cheering girls’ sports, “regardless of whether the girls’ basketball teams wanted and/or asked for” them, to quote the New York rule. It would be too much to expect actual criticism of the sacrosanct sex-equality-in-sports law, but the report does make clear that most of the kids involved, including a large share of the girls as well as the boys, don’t find the new way of doing things an improvement. “Rosie Pudish, the parent who filed the original complaint, said she did so even though her own daughter, Keri, a varsity basketball player at Johnson City High School, did not particularly want cheerleaders at her games.” (Winnie Hu, “Equal Cheers for Boys and Girls Draw Some Boos”, Jan. 14) [broken link fixed now]. More: Nov. 2, 2006, May 7, 2005, etc., as well as here and here.