Federal News Roundup
The Reagan Administration received the U.S. Supreme Court's permission last week to participate in arguments next fall in a case that questions whether school districts must keep violent and disruptive handicapped students in their classrooms pending the completion of hearings on their behavior.
The lawsuit, Honig v. Doe (Case No. 86-728), stems from the suspensions and planned expulsions of two emotionally disturbed San Francisco students in 1980--one for alleged assault, the other for allegedly making sexual advances toward a female student.
Federal district and appeals courts blocked the disciplinary actions, holding that, when deviant behavior is a manifestation of a child's handicap, the child has a right, under the Education of the Handicapped Act of 1975, to remain in his existing educational placement until all administrative and judicial reviews are completed.
In a "friend of the court'' brief, the Administration argues that the responsibility of state and local school officials to educate all children "would be irreparably undermined if they [have] to keep a child whose handicap-related misconduct endangers others in his current placement.'' The case is expected to be argued between October and December.
Also last week, the Court declined to review lower federal-court rulings that upheld the constitutionality of a 1980 New Jersey law that requires nonunion teachers to pay "representation fees'' to cover the costs of union benefits enjoyed by all teachers.
The nonunion teachers who filed the suit, Robinson v. New Jersey (No. 86-1654), contended that the law forced them to subsidize objectionable ideological matters in violation of the First Amendment. They also said the process established under the law for protesting the calculation of the fee amount denied them due process of law as guaranteed under the 14th Amendment.