Articles Posted in Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court

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Plaintiff, a high school student, was suspended from school for conduct that took place outside of school grounds. The suspension - which was mistakenly ordered on the ground that Plaintiff had been charged with a felony - lasted an entire semester, and Plaintiff was unable to graduate with her class. Plaintiff commenced this action asserting that her suspension was unlawful. The judge allowed Defendants’ motion to dismiss on the ground that Plaintiff failed to exhaust her administrative remedies under Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 72, 37H1/2 before filing her complaint. The Supreme Judicial Court reversed, holding that because the tort recovery a student may seek under Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 76, 16 provides a separate and distinct remedy from that available under section 37H1/2, Plaintiff was not obligated to exhaust the statute’s administrative remedies before pursuing a tort claim under Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 76, 16. View "Goodwin v. Lee Public Schools" on Justia Law

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At issue in this case was whether settlement agreements between a public school and the parents of a public school student who requires special education are public records subject to disclosure. Plaintiff requested from Defendant school district copies of such agreements where Defendant “limited its contribution to education funding or attached conditions for it for out of district placements” for certain school years. The school district denied the request. The superior court declared that the agreements were public records and were not exempt from disclosure. The Supreme Judicial Court vacated the judgment of the superior court and remanded, holding (1) the settlement agreements regarding placement of students in out-of-district private educational institutions are not “public records” under Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 4, 7; but (2) the settlement agreements may be redacted to remove personally identifiable information, after which they become subject to disclosure under Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 66, 10, the Massachusetts public records law. View "Champa v. Weston Public Schools" on Justia Law