Law & Courts News in Brief

U.S. Supreme Court Declines Two Appeals on School Cases

By Mark Walsh — March 04, 2008 1 min read
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The U.S. Supreme Court last week declined to hear appeals in two cases involving school districts.

In the first, a Georgia father was seeking the justices’ review of a case in which he alleged that school officials ignored repeated complaints and warnings that a 5th grade teacher was sexually abusing young female students.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, in Atlanta, ruled last year that a school principal and assistant principal were immune from the suit, and that the 3,200-student White County, Ga., district was not liable under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 because the evidence did not support claims that supervisors had actual notice that the teacher was molesting students.

The justices declined without comment to hear the father’s appeal in Dale v. White County School District (Case No. 07-962).

In the second case, the high court declined to take up the question of whether the federal statute widely known as Section 1983, which derives from the Civil Rights Act of 1871, provides a basis for going to court to enforce rights under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

In a decision last September, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, in San Francisco, ruled that even though Section 1983 ordinarily provides a cause of action for enforcing rights created by other federal laws, the IDEA provides its own comprehensive enforcement scheme. The 9th Circuit court acknowledged that its decision was in conflict with rulings on that issue by two other federal circuit courts.

The justices declined without comment to hear the appeal of the Washington state mother of a child with autism who was in conflict with the 400-student Morton, Wash., district over his treatment. The appeal was Blanchard v. Morton School District (No. 07-825).

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For more stories on this topic see Law and Courts.

A version of this article appeared in the March 05, 2008 edition of Education Week

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