Education News in Brief

High Court to Hear Teacher’s Case

By Mark Walsh — March 01, 2010 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed last week to take up an issue stemming from the case of a California teacher and her husband who were wrongfully accused of child abuse and then found that they had no way to remove their names from a state child-abuse registry.

The legal question accepted by the justices holds importance for school districts: whether plaintiffs suing local governmental agencies must show that a constitutional violation was the result of a policy or practice of the agency, even when the plaintiffs are merely seeking a court order to end the violation, as opposed to monetary damages.

The high court granted review last week in County of Los Angeles v. Humphries (Case No. 09-350), which stems from a suit brought by Craig and Wendy Humphries after they were falsely accused of child abuse by their rebellious 15-year-old daughter and ended up on the state’s child-abuse index.

In what a lower court called a “parents’ nightmare,” the couple found that there was no procedure for removing their names from the index, despite a court declaration that they were “factually innocent” of the abuse charges. They sued Los Angeles County and its sheriff, as well as the state, alleging a violation of their 14th Amendment right to due process of law. Among the difficulties the couple face, court papers say, is that Ms. Humphries’ inclusion on the child-abuse index threatens her ability to remain licensed as a special education teacher.

A panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, in San Francisco, held last year that the county sheriff’s department was potentially liable under a 1978 Supreme Court decision for not adopting its own procedure for the falsely accused to remove their names from the child-abuse index.

In Monell v. New York City Department of Social Services, the high court held that districts and other local agencies could be liable for damages only when an action by one of their employees was tied to an official “policy, custom, or practice.” The federal courts of appeals are divided about whether a suit merely seeking a court order must meet the same standard. The Supreme Court will hear the case during the term that begins in October.

A version of this article appeared in the March 03, 2010 edition of Education Week as High Court to Hear Teacher’s Case

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Achievement Webinar
How To Tackle The Biggest Hurdles To Effective Tutoring
Learn how districts overcome the three biggest challenges to implementing high-impact tutoring with fidelity: time, talent, and funding.
Content provided by Saga Education
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
Reframing Behavior: Neuroscience-Based Practices for Positive Support
Reframing Behavior helps teachers see the “why” of behavior through a neuroscience lens and provides practices that fit into a school day.
Content provided by Crisis Prevention Institute
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Mathematics Webinar
Math for All: Strategies for Inclusive Instruction and Student Success
Looking for ways to make math matter for all your students? Gain strategies that help them make the connection as well as the grade.
Content provided by NMSI

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Briefly Stated: March 20, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated: March 13, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
9 min read
Education Briefly Stated: February 21, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read
Education Briefly Stated: February 7, 2024
Here's a look at some recent Education Week articles you may have missed.
8 min read