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A party is bound by the terms of a consent decree that it voluntarily entered. The Fifth Circuit mostly affirmed the district court's judgment finding that Delta had violated a consent decree requiring Delta to comply with a desegregation order that it had voluntarily entered into. In this case, the desegregation requirements arose out of and served to resolve a longstanding desegregation effort in Concordia Parish properly overseen by the district court; were within the scope of the case; and furthered the equal protection objectives of the original complaint. The court rejected Delta's alternative argument that the district court's order granting further relief exceeded its remedial authority. Finally, the court vacated a portion of the district court's order requiring Delta to obtain authorization before enrolling students from other parishes under separate desegregation orders. View "Smith v. School Board of Concordia Parish" on Justia Law

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The First Circuit affirmed the district court’s decision upholding the determination of the Massachusetts Bureau of Special Education Appeals (BSEA) ruling against all of Plaintiff’s claims seeking placement for her minor child in a school outside of the Boston Public Schools (BPS) system, holding that there was no basis in which to reverse the district court’s decision. Plaintiff, on behalf of her minor child, initiated this proceeding pursuant to the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), 20 U.S.C. 1400 et seq. A hearing officer denied relief. The district court affirmed the BSEA’s decision. On appeal, Plaintiff raised a number of claimed errors during the hearing. The First Circuit affirmed, holding (1) the district court applied the proper standard in evaluating the minor child’s education progress; and (2) Plaintiff’s challenges to the conduct of the hearing itself did not warrant reversal of the district court’s decision. View "Johnson v. Boston Public Schools" on Justia Law

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The Seventh Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of defendants' motion for summary judgment in an action alleging claims under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), 42 U.S.C. 1983, and Illinois law. Plaintiff filed suit on behalf of himself and a certified class of similarly situated part-time and adjunct faculty, challenging Oakton Community College's change in hiring practices such that the college would no longer employ retired state employees if they were also beneficiaries of the State University Retirement System. In regard to the ADEA claim, the court held that the district court applied the appropriate burden of proof where the ADEA and the cases interpreting it make clear that a policy may have a disparate impact on older workers as long as the employer shows that the policy was based on a reasonable factor other than age (RFOA); the district court correctly concluded that a reasonable jury would be compelled to find that Oakton's reason was an RFOA; and the district court properly required defendants to prove that Oakton's policy was, in fact, based on reasonable factors other than age. Likewise, the section 1983 claim failed because there was no ADEA violation. Finally, plaintiff's retaliatory discharge claim lacked merit. View "Dayton v. Oakton Community College" on Justia Law

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The Seventh Circuit affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment for defendants after defendants refused to provide school transportation (or equivalent cash benefits) to plaintiffs' children. The court held that the record did not establish that the Superintendent or the school district furnished or withheld public benefits on the basis of non-neutral religious criteria; nor did the evidence support the claim that public officials impermissibly determined the school's affiliation on the basis of theology, ecclesiology, or ritual; but, rather, it showed that public officials applied a secular statute that limits benefits to a single school affiliated with any sponsoring group. In this case, St. Augustine declared itself to be Catholic. View "St. Augustine School v. Evers" on Justia Law

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John Doe appealed the superior court's decision denying his petition for writ of administrative mandate to compel UCSB to rescind his suspension after he was found guilty of sexual misconduct in violation of the Student Conduct Code. The Court of Appeal reversed and held that John was denied access to critical evidence; denied the opportunity to adequately cross-examine witnesses; and denied the opportunity to present evidence in his defense. The court held that the accused must be permitted to see the evidence against him and, in this case, John was not permitted access to the complete Sexual Assault Response Team report. This error was prejudicial to John. Furthermore, cumulative errors occurred at the hearing, including the exclusion of John's evidence of the side effects of Viibryd, a prescription antidepressant, that Jane Roe was taking. The court held that neither Jane nor John received a fair hearing where the lack of due process precluded a fair evaluation of the witnesses' credibility. View "Doe v. Regents of the University of California" on Justia Law

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The Court of Appeal reversed the superior court's grant of a petition for writ of administrative mandamus by a former USC student and order to vacate USC's decision to discipline him for violating the university's academic integrity standards. The court held that substantial evidence supported USC's decision that Doe cheated. In this case, it was undisputed that Doe and Student B sat next to each other during the final examination in Biology 220; had the same version of the examination although adjacent students were supposed to have different versions; answered 46 of the 50 examination questions identically, a highly anomalous statistical result; and wrote large letter answers in the margins of the examination booklets that would be visible to the students sitting next to them. Accordingly, the court remanded with directions to deny the petition for writ of administrative mandamus. View "Doe v. University of Southern California" on Justia Law

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High school students sprayed with or exposed to Freeze +P filed suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983 against the board of education, the chief of police, and the Student Resource Officers (SROs) who used the spray against them or in their vicinity. On appeal, the police chief challenged the district court's judgment. The Eleventh Circuit reversed and held that the September 30 order was final and appealable under 28 U.S.C. 1291 pursuant to the court's decision in United States v. Alabama; assuming the SROs in question violated the Fourth Amendment by failing to adequately decontaminate the students exposed to Freeze +P, they were entitled to qualified immunity because the relevant law was not clearly established at the time of their conduct in 2009, 2010, and 2011; the class-based claim for declaratory and injunctive relief with respect to the use of Freeze +P failed for lack of standing; and the class-based claim for declaratory and injunctive relief with respect to the decontamination policy also failed for lack of standing. View "J W v. Roper" on Justia Law

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A Louisiana charter school did not qualify for the "political subdivision" exemption of the National Labor Relations Act and was therefore subject to the Act. In this case, petitioners challenged the NLRB's finding that petitioners, Louisiana charter school operators, committed an unfair labor practice and ordered it to recognize and bargain with the union. The Fifth Circuit denied the petition for review, holding that petitioners, like most other privately controlled employers, was subject to the Act because Louisiana chose to insulate its charters from the political process. View "Voices for International Business and Education, Inc. v. NLRB" on Justia Law

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K.D. attended public school in the Downingtown Area School District from preschool through the first semester of third grade. Halfway through kindergarten, Downingtown assigned an Instructional Support Team to monitor K.D.’s educational progress and give her extra support. A psychologist found that K.D. had a low-average IQ (87) and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). K.D. had an individualized education program (IEP) for each school year. In third grade, K.D.’s parents became dissatisfied and obtained their own neuropsychological evaluation. In the middle of third grade, Downingtown’s team met again, changed K.D.’s goals, and added new “evidence-based” programs. Her parents withdrew K.D., placed her in private school, and sought reimbursement. Pennsylvania’s Office of Dispute Resolution found that the IEPs were adequate and that Downingtown had provided K.D. with a free appropriate public education, as required by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Because the officer applied the Third Circuit’s meaningful-benefit test. The district court entered and the Third Circuit affirmed judgment in favor of Downington. In applying the requirement of “an educational program reasonably calculated to enable a child to make progress appropriate in light of the child’s circumstances,” courts may not “substitute [our] own notions of sound educational policy for those of the school authorities which [we] review.” View "K. D. v. Downingtown Area School District" on Justia Law

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The Fifth Circuit affirmed the district court's denial of attorneys' fees for plaintiff under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). The court held that the hearing officer's decision did not make plaintiff a prevailing party under the IDEA and thus she was not entitled to attorneys' fees. In this case, the officer's decision effected no change to plaintiff's educational plan, which the officer agreed was entirely appropriate despite lacking a prior autism diagnosis. Furthermore, the IDEA focuses, not on a student's diagnostic label, but on whether the student received appropriate education services, which the officer found plaintiff had received from the school district. View "Lauren C. v. Lewisville Independent School District" on Justia Law