Law & Courts News in Brief

Appeals Court Backs Officer For Arresting Disruptive Student

By Mark Walsh — August 02, 2016 1 min read

A divided federal appeals court has upheld a school resource officer’s arrest and handcuffing of a New Mexico 7th grader for disrupting his class with “fake burps.”

A panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals, in Denver, ruled 2-1 that the officer was immune from liability because it was not clearly established that the student’s classroom disruptions were not in violation of a state law that prohibits interference with the “educational process” at any public or private school. The majority also upheld qualified immunity for the officer regarding his use of handcuffs when he took the 13-year-old to a juvenile-detention center.

Writing in dissent, Judge Neil M. Gorsuch said that a student’s classroom disruption that would have once resulted in a trip to the principal’s office and detention is now leading to police involvement.

A version of this article appeared in the August 03, 2016 edition of Education Week as Water Crisis Spurs District Chief In Oregon to Resign Immediately

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