Adjunct Law Prof Blog

Editor: Mitchell H. Rubinstein
New York Law School

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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Federal Circuit Rules No Link between Autism and Vaccine

The Blog of the Legal Times reported on August 27, 2010, that the Federal Circuit recently held that there was no link between Autism and childhood vaccines. You can find that article here.

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

August 31, 2010 in Misc., Legal | Permalink | Comments (0)

3rd Dep't. Summarizes Civil Service Sec. 75-b (Whistleblower Statute) Standards

3ddept.

Hastie v. SUNY, ____A.D.3d___(3rd Dep't. June 10, 2010), is brought to your attention because the court does a nice job in summarizing the standards under New York's public employee whistleblower statute, Civil Service Law Sec. 75-b. As the court explained:

Accepting the allegations in the complaint as true, as we must on a motion to dismiss, we nevertheless affirm (see Lazic v Currier, 69 AD3d 1213, 1213-1214 [2010]). Adverse employment action may not be taken against a public employee based upon his or her disclosure of information to specified entities "which the employee reasonably believes to be true and reasonably believes constitutes an improper governmental action" (Civil Service Law § 75-b [2] [a] [ii]; see Civil Service Law § 75-b [2] [b]; Brohman v New York Convention Ctr. Operating Corp., 293 AD2d 299, 299-300 [2002]). Improper governmental action consists of an illegal "action by a public employer or employee, or an agent of such employer or employee, which is undertaken in the performance of such agent's official duties" (Civil Service Law § 75-b [2] [a]). As a result, the only potentially improper governmental action here is not the submission of the allegedly flawed tax form by a third party but, rather, the directives from the alleged wrongdoers, defendant's president and vice-president, that plaintiff sign the receipt section of the form. It is undisputed that plaintiff made no effort to report those assertedly improper directives to any person or entity other than the alleged wrongdoers and, as such, he did not make the notification efforts which are a procedural prerequisite to invoke the protections of the statute (see Civil Service Law § 75-b [2] [b]; see also Matter of Garrity v University at Albany, 301 AD2d 1015, 1017 [2003]; Brohman v New York Convention Ctr. Operating Corp., 293 AD2d at 299-300; Bal v City of New York, 266 AD2d 79, 79 [1999]; Moore v County of Rockland, 192 AD2d 1021, 1024 [1993]; cf. Tipaldo v Lynn, 48 AD3d 361, 362 [2008]).

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

August 31, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, August 30, 2010

Coke Cancels Health Insurance of Striking Workers; Workers Bring ERISA Suit

Details from law.com A teamsters press release is available here. Unfortunately, unless Coke's actions were retaliatory, they can probably do this. ERISA provides virtually no protection to employee health insurance plans. I hope I am wrong. We will have to wait and see. 

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

August 30, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0)

3rd Dep't. Summarize Malice Standards For Defamation Purposes

3ddept.

Defamation is an intentional tort that is often litigated in the context of employment. Often times the alleged defamatory statement might be protected by a qualified privilege. A qualified privilege can be defeated if malice is shown. But what is malice. A recent New York appellate decision, Clark v. Schuylerville Central School District, ____A.D.3d___(3d. Dep't. June 10, 2010), summarize the applicable law. As the court stated:

Moreover, plaintiff concedes that, even if made, the alleged statement would have been subject to a qualified privilege, unless it was made with malice, because the communication [*2]occurred between persons with a common interest in the subject matter (see Foster v Churchill, 87 NY2d 744, 751-752 [1996]; Liberman v Gelstein, 80 NY2d 429, 437-439 [1992]). We note that in this context, malice includes spite, ill will, knowledge that a statement is probably false or a reckless disregard for its falsity, and that "spite or ill will refers not to defendant's general feelings about plaintiff, but to the speaker's motivation for making the defamatory statements" (Liberman v Gelstein, 80 NY2d at 439; see Foster v Churchill, 87 NY2d at 752). Inasmuch as plaintiff failed to present any competent evidence that the alleged statement was "made with an intent to harm [her,] . . . with a reckless disregard for [its] truth, . . . [or] solely because [Martin] disliked [her]" (Foster v Churchill, 87 NY2d at 752), she failed to demonstrate an issue of fact regarding the existence of malice sufficient to defeat the qualified privilege (see id.; Liberman v Gelstein, 80 NY2d at 438-439; cf. Curren v Carbonic Sys., Inc., 58 AD3d 1104, 1107 [2009]).

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

August 30, 2010 in New York Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

To Be A Child With A Disability, the Condition Must Actually Affect Educational Performance

7thCir 
 

C.D. v. Marshall Joint Sch. Dist. No. 2, Nos. 09-1319,
09-2499, 2010 WL 2990839 (7th Cir. Aug. 2, 2010), is an interesting decision. The 7th holds that a child with a physical disability was not covered by IDEA, despite the conclusion of the ALJ and the district judge that the condition fit into the IDEA categories, had an adverse effect on the child's educational
performance, and caused the child to need special education. The 7th explained the error below as follows:
In her report, the ALJ concluded that the EDS adversely
affects C.D.’s educational performance because
it causes him to experience pain and fatigue and that
when he does “experience[] pain and/or fatigue at
school, it can affect his educational performance.” ALJ
Op. at 10. This is an incorrect formulation of the test. It is
not whether something, when considered in the abstract,
can adversely affect a student’s educational performance,
but whether in reality it does. 34 C.F.R. § 300.8(C)(9)(ii);
see also A.J. v. Bd. of Educ., 679 F. Supp. 2d 299, 310
(E.D.N.Y. 2010).

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

Hat Tip: Professor Mark Weber

August 29, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Third Circuit Denies Parents’ Request for Tuition Reimbursement under the IDEA

3dCir

C.H. v. Cape Henlopen Sch. Dist., ____F.3d____ (3d Cir. May 25, 2010), is an interesting case. The 3rd Circuit held that the parents of a learning disabled student were not entitled to reimbursement of the costs of his private school tuition under the Individuals with Disabilities Act (“IDEA”), because the school district’s procedural violations of IDEA did not cause substantial harm to the rights of the parents or the student and because unreasonable parent conduct warranted equitable reduction of the award under IDEA.

The Third Circuit stated that procedural violations only rise to the level of a denial of the right to a Free Appropriate Public Education (FAPE) if they cause substantive harm to the child or his parents. With respect to the alleged failure to have an IEP in place, the panel found that the parents, not the school district, were responsible for the delays in finalizing the IEP and that C.H. did not lose any educational benefit.   Even if he had attended the public school, the IEP could have been developed for him within a week of the start of the school year.   Similarly, the panel determined that failure to notify the parents ten days before the IEP meeting  did not impair the parents’ knowledge of or participation in educational decisions because the mother attended the August IEP meeting, and was aware of the September meeting but did not attend because of the due process hearing.  There fore, there was no substantive harm caused by the District. As the court stated:

“The procedural requirements of the IDEA governing notice of IEP meetings are intended to ensure parental participation in the IEP process, not to provide the Parents with a hook on which to hang a tuition reimbursement claim. It is clear to us, as it was to the District Court, that the Parents have been their own greatest impediment to participation in the evaluation of C.H.’s disabilities and the development of an appropriate IEP.”

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

August 29, 2010 in Education Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Obama Board Reaffirms Narrow Accretion Standards

Nlrb
CHS, Inc., 355 NLRB No. 164 (August 27, 2010), is an interesting case.  A union successfully brought a Unit Clarification petition seeking to accrete employees into the unit that were acquired as a result of a merger. The Board summarized the applicable accretion standards as follows:

 As part of its authority to police collective-bargaining

units, the Board may accrete employees to an existing

unit without holding an election. See Westinghouse

Electric Corp. v. NLRB, 440 F.2d 7, 11 (2d Cir. 1971).

As the term itself implies, “[u]nit clarification . . . is appropriate

for resolving ambiguities concerning the unit

placement of individuals who, for example, come within

a newly established classification of disputed unit placement

or, within an existing classification which has undergone

recent, substantial changes in [its] duties and

responsibilities . . . so as to create a real doubt as to

whether the individuals in such classification continue to

fall within the category--excluded or included-- that they

occupied in the past.” Union Electric Co., 217 NLRB

666, 667 (1975). Where new groups of employees have

come into existence after a union’s recognition or certification

or during the term of a contract, if the new employees

“have such common interests with members of

[the] existing bargaining unit [such] that the new employees

would, if present earlier, have been included in

the unit or covered by the current contract, then the

Board will permit accretion in furtherance of the statutory

objective of promoting labor relations stability.”

United Parcel Service, 303 NLRB 326, 327

(1991)(emphasis added), enforced, 17 F.3d 1518 (D.C.

Cir. 1994). Accord: Frontier Telephone of Rochester,

Inc., 344 NLRB 1270, 1271 (2005) (“The fundamental

purpose of the accretion doctrine is to ‘preserve industrial

stability by allowing adjustments in bargaining units

to conform to new industrial conditions without requiring

an adversary election every time new jobs are created[.]’”)

(citation omitted), enforced, 181 Fed. Appx 85

(2d Cir. 2006).

However, because employees are accreted to an existing

unit without being afforded an opportunity to vote,

“the accretion doctrine’s goal of promoting industrial

stability places it in tension with the right of employees

to freely choose their bargaining representative.” Frontier

Telephone, 344 NLRB at 1271. Accordingly, the

Board follows a restrictive policy in finding accretions to

existing units,” Archer Daniels Midland Co., 333 NLRB

673, 675 (2001), and Board policy is to “permit accretion

‘only when the employees sought to be added to an existing

bargaining unit have little or no separate identity and

share an overwhelming community of interest with the

preexisting unit to which they are accreted.’” Frontier

Telephone, supra, 344 NLRB at 1271 (citation omitted).

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

August 28, 2010 in NLRB | Permalink | Comments (0)

District Court Upholds Decision of Idaho Public Schools to Ban the Use of Religious Documents in the Curriculum

Nampa Classical Acad. v. Goesling, ____F.3d_____(D. Idaho May 17, 2010), is an interesting case. The U.S. District Court of Idaho held that the Idaho Public Charter School Commission (“the Commission”) did not violate the Constitutional rights of a charter school teacher and student by banning the use of religious documents and texts in the public school curriculum.  The school is considered a public school and its  curriculum is structured in a “classical, liberal arts format, and focuses its study not on textbooks but rather on primary sources as a method of educating its students.”    The school uses both secular and religious primary source documents, including the Bible, the Koran, the Book of Mormon, and the Hadieth.

The Court held that if the Commission had allowed the use of religious texts they would be in violation of the Establishment Clause, which requires that the government must neither endorse or promote religion, thus remaining neutral. 

Another important issue that the court dealt with was qualified immunity which some readers may find of interest.

Mitchell H. Rubinstein


August 28, 2010 in Education Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, August 27, 2010

School Law Jobs

Job TitleEmployerJob Location
Labor & Employment AttorneyLozano SmithFresno, California
Mid-Level/Senior Special Education AttorneyHarbottle Law GroupOrange County, California
Special Education AttorneyLozano SmithFresno, California
Chief Counsel to the School BoardSchool District of Palm Beach CountyWest Palm Beach, Florida
School Law AttorneyBrannan Legal SearchChicago, Illinois
Employment/Labor Law Associate AttorneyThrun Law FirmEast Lansing, Michigan
Hiring? Learn mo

August 27, 2010 in Lawyer Employment | Permalink | Comments (0)

Breaking News: NLRB Member Peter C. Schaumber departs NLRB as second term expires

Nlrbseal
 

Nominated by President George W. Bush, Member Peter C. Schaumber leaves office today after having served two terms.  After his first confirmation by the United States Senate, he took his seat on the Board in December 2002.  He was named the Board’s Chairman in April 2008, a position he held until January 20, 2009. 

The NLRB is now done to 4 Members. President Obama has not nominated a replacement.

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

August 27, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, August 26, 2010

6th Holds Teacher Complains About Class Size Held Not To Be Protected Under 1st A

6thcir

Fox v. Traverse City Area Pub. Sch., ___F.3d___(6th Cir. May 17, 2010), is an interesting case. the 6th Circuit held that a teacher whose contract was not renewed failed to state a valid First Amendment retaliation claim. The court held that her complaints to her supervisors that her caseload of students was over the legal limit of 21 could not support the claim that she was terminated in retaliation for exercising her First Amendment right to freedom of speech. The plaintiffs statements were made as a public employee rather than as a citizen and, therefore, not entitled to First Amendment protection.

The Sixth Circuit found Garcetti v. Ceballos, 547 U.S. 410 (2006), to control the outcome. Garcetti held that a public employee’s speech has First Amendment protection only when made as a “citizen” about a matter of “public concern.”  As the court stated, under  Garcetti, “even employee speech addressing a matter of public concern is not protected if made pursuant to the employee’s official duties,” citing Weisbarth v. Geauga Park Dist, 499 F.3d 538, 542 (6th Cir. 2007).  The plaintiff's complaints were made directly and solely to her supervisor rather than the general public, and resulted exclusively from her duties as a special education teacher.

Mitchell H. Rubinstein


August 26, 2010 in Education Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

The Job With Exposure to Most Germs is?

You would never guess this one. The correct answer is "teacher." A Fox News story about this is available here and a Wall Street Journal Health Blog is available here

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

August 25, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Proposed Pennsylvania legislation seeks to limit punishment for “sexting”

CBSNEWS reported on June 10, 2010 that a bill has passed a Pennsylvania committee that would limit the punishment for "sexting" (the practice in which adolescents forward sexually explicit images of themselves or their peers via text message).  The bill is in responses to several prosecutions of teens under child pornography laws.  According to the report, eights students received a felony pornography charge for exchanging nude photos of each other via cell phone. 

Source: CBSNEWS, 6/5/10 By Michelle Miller and Phil Hirschkorn

August 25, 2010 in Legislation | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Reinstatement of coal miner who tested positive for marijuana upheld

CCH Workday recently reported on an interesting case. A lower federal court recently held that an arbitrator did not exceed her authority when she ordered reinstatement of a coal mine worker who was discharged after testing positive for marijuana. The marijuana was injested six (6) days before the employee returned from a vacation.Consolidation Coal Co v United Mine Workers Local 9909, No 1:09CV11). The employee was selected to be tested pursuant to the employer's random testing procedures.  The arbitrator, finding that the employer did not have just cause to dismiss the employee because the decision to discharge was not made with the worker’s record in mind. The arbitrator ordered that the employer “reinstate [the worker] immediately, without back pay, but in every other way to make him whole.”

The employer argued that the award should be vacated because the arbitrator’s decision was informed by her personal beliefs, outside the four corners of the CBA. The court rejected the argument that the arbitrator ignored the plain language of the CBA. Where the CBA does not address certain issues, the arbitrator must resolve them through interpretation.The court also noted that that company rules state that drug use will result in discipline, up to and including discharge.

The court also held that this award did not violate public policy. 

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

August 24, 2010 in Arbitration Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Pending New York Bill Would Fine School Administrators Who Fail To Investigate School Bullying

The New York Post reported on June 9, 2010 that there is pending legislation that would fine school administrators who do not investigate allegations of school bullying. Bullying is a series problem in schools as well as in employment, but there is not much legislative protection. Hopefully, that is about to change.

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

August 23, 2010 in Education Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Bathroom Leave

Workplace Prof Blog reported on an English employer who made employees clock in and out to go to the bathroom. As the article states:

Factory workers who claim their wages were docked every time they went to the toilet are taking their bosses to an employment tribunal.

The Unite union said 86 employees at Dunbia in Sawley have raised complaints over the policy forcing staff to clock in and out to use the toilet, with money then being taken from their pay.

Solicitors are now reviewing the claims to determine how many employees have a case.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1304051/Factory-bosses-docking-workers-wages--time-toilet.html#ixzz0wzneO2yk

Sometimes you cannot make these facts up.

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

August 23, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Most Dangerous Job In America

The BLS actually publishes stats on the most dangerous jobs in America. A New York Times blog story about these stats is available here. The winner is the fishing industry. I bet you all knew that! Here is a copy of the chart showing the most dangerous jobs.

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Mitchell H. Rubinstein

Hat Tip. Workplace Prof Blog

August 22, 2010 in Employment Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Washington school district ties proposed policy allowing cell phone searches to compliance with state laws on cyber bullying and sexting

The Local media reported that Oak Harbor School District (OHSD) in Washington is proposing a policy that would allow school officials to search students’ cell phones. OHSD believes the policy is necessary in order for the district to comply with recent state legislation requiring school districts to toughen up on cyber bullying and sexting. The policy would allow school administrators to review anything in a student’s cell phone, including text messages, pictures, and videos. 

School board members unanimously passed a first reading of the new cell phone policy. It is still subject to final approval by the school board at the end of the month.

Source: KOMO News, 8/16/10, By Marlee Ginter

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

August 22, 2010 in Education Law | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, August 21, 2010

10 Unforgettable Judges

Court Reporter School, a commercial site, posted a list of 10 unforgettable Judges. There are some surprises on list list including Rehnquist and Burger-but the list includes some pictures and is an interesting read.

Mitchell H. Rubinstein

Hat Tip: Ava Moore

August 21, 2010 in Judges | Permalink | Comments (1)

10 Important Education Law Cases

Online degrees, a commercial site, wrote an interesting posting summarizing 10 important Education Law Supreme Court decisions. They are as follows:


  1. West Virginia State Board of Education v. Barnette: This 1943 Supreme Court decision dealt with the Pledge of Allegiance and the use of the American flag in schools. Specifically, the West Virginia legislature had required that schools would not only teach U.S. history but that teachers and students would be required to recite the Pledge and salute the flag, and that failure to do so would be classified as "insubordination" to be "dealt with accordingly." Groups including the PTA and the Boy Scouts protested, but it was a family of Jehovah’s Witnesses who objected to what they viewed as worship of a "graven image" over their belief in God. The Court ruled 6-3 that forcing children to salute the flag was unconstitutional. The victory was a major one for proponents of First Amendment rights, as well as for those whose religious beliefs were challenged by such acts.
  2. Everson v. Board of Education: The landmark Everson case is remembered for expanding the protections of the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause to the states instead of keeping it at the federal level. Before this 1947 decision, some states granted special legislative rights to certain religions, despite the prohibition in the First Amendment that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion." A New Jersey man initially brought suit over the fact that taxpayers there were being reimbursed for the cost of children taking public transportation to schools both public and private. His argument, which the Supreme Court agreed with when the case made its way to them, was that such a program is a blurring of the line meant to separate church and state. The decision would help pave the way for a necessary separation of the two institutions in the educational realm for years to come.
  3. Brown v. Board of Education: One of the most important and well known Supreme Court decisions of all time, this 1954 ruling overturned 1896′s Plessy v. Ferguson, which had held that segregated schools were legal as long as equal facilities were maintained for white and black students. The 9-0 decision of Brown uncovered the lie of that by stating that "separate educational facilities are inherently unequal." This ruling put an end to the legality of institutionalized segregation in American schools and helped clear the path for the coming civil rights movement of the 1950s and ’60s. The plaintiffs of Topeka, Kansas, had their case argued before the Court by NAACP chief counsel Thurgood Marshall, who would join the Supreme Court in 1967.
  4. Engel v. Vitale: Another important decision in terms of religious freedom, Engel v. Vitale was a 1962 decision in which the Supreme Court ruled 6-1 that it’s unconstitutional for schools to compose official prayers and make students recite them. Families of students at a New York school united to legally protest the fact their children were required to recite a prayer that the school had written for its students. They argued that such a practice violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, and the Court backed them up. The school tried to claim that the prayer’s wording was vague enough not to endorse any specific religion, but the Court said that the prayer’s petition to "Almighty God" was enough to serve as promotion for a family of faiths, thus making the whole affair unconstitutional. The case helped to define and strengthen the divide between churches and schools.
  5. Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District: This 1969 case would influence many others (some on this list), and courts still refer to "the Tinker test" when determining the rights of students on school campuses. The case came about when three students — two in high school, one in junior high — wore black armbands to school in December 1965 to protest the Vietnam War. The school forbade the wearing of the armbands, a ruling that stood until the case was appealed all the way to the Supreme Court. In a 7-2 ruling, the Court said that students and teachers don’t forfeit their constitutional protections "at the schoolhouse gate," and that the school could only justify censoring students’ speech for a legitimate reason, not merely to avoid a potentially awkward reminder of Vietnam. Later rulings would qualify and limit Tinker, but the case was a crucial victory for students’ right to speech and expression.
  6. Goss v. Lopez: This 1975 decision bolstered students’ rights in the face of disciplinary action. Dwight Lopez and eight other students were suspended from Ohio’s Marion-Franklin High School for destruction of property. However, their suspension came without a hearing or parental notification, and the swiftness and execution of that punishment was deemed by the Supreme Court (ruling 5-4) to be a violation of students’ rights to due process of the 14th Amendment. The ruling didn’t do anything to condone Lopez’s actions, but it was important in determining that students are deserving of certain procedural rights when they’re involved in disciplinary actions.
  7. New Jersey v. T. L. O.: Students’ right to privacy was sharply defined in this 1985 ruling. Two high school students were caught smoking in the bathroom of Piscataway Township High School in 1980. (Amazingly, smoking was allowed on campus, but only in certain areas.) One of the students had her purse searched, which revealed rolling papers and what appeared to be evidence that she smoked and sold pot regularly. She fought the search and seizure, claiming it violated her Fourth Amendment protection against unreasonable searches. However, the Court ruled 6-3 that the search had been reasonable: She had been caught smoking cigarettes but denied doing so, which led to a reasonable search of her purse for the cigarettes, and that search in turn yielded discovery of drug paraphernalia in "plain view." The ruling changed education by making it easier to understand what constitutes a reasonable attempt on the part of school officials to provide a safe environment, something that’s always on the table when it comes to schools.
  8. Bethel School District v. Fraser: This 1986 ruling was one of those that refined the Tinker test. A student named Matthew Fraser gave a speech on behalf of another student running for school office that was packed with sexual innuendo, and as a result, Fraser was suspended. He sued that the suspension violated his right to free speech, and though the district court and circuit court of appeals sided with Fraser, the Supreme Court overturned those rulings and said that his suspension had been constitutional. The Court said that while students should still expect reasonable chances to exercise free speech, the school has the right to monitor and punish sexually vulgar speech. It’s a limiting ofTinker, but a helpful one for educators looking to strike a balance between speech and censorship.
  9. Hazelwood v. Kuhlmeier: Another clarification of Tinker, this 1988 ruling dealt with student newspapers. A student newspaper had two pages of stories deleted before going to press, including an article about pregnancy among students and one about students whose parents had divorced. The principal said he didn’t think the anonymous names in the story were enough to protect the identities of the students in question, and that some of the topics weren’t appropriate for younger students. The Supreme Court agreed that even though students have a right to free speech, that doesn’t mean the school-sponsored newspaper can’t remove stories, especially when those stories conflict with what are termed "legitimate pedagogical goals." A school-funded paper isn’t the same as a public forum, so students’ speech rights are a bit more limited.
  10. Santa Fe Independent School District v. Doe: Back to religion, that old judicial chestnut. This 2000 Supreme Court case dealt with prayer at football games. A high school in Texas allowed a student chaplain to recite Christian prayers over the P.A. system before football games, which raised the ire of some non-Christian parents, who sued under the Establishment Clause. The district court and the circuit court of appeals found that the prayers were acceptable as long as they were deemed "nonsectarian" and "non-proselytizing," but the parents appealed all the way to the Supreme Court. In a 6-3 ruling, the Supreme Court found that such prayers were indeed unconstitutional, since the prayers were happening at school-sponsored events, on school property, using members of the student body. As a result, no amount of nonsectarian labeling could change the fact that the prayers would seem to be issued at the school’s request and with its approval, which violates the Establishment Clause. School prayer is a hot-button issue in American education, so decisions like this one always bring heated exchanges. However, decisions like this one — and the discussions they create — are necessary to preserving the freedom of all students.

August 21, 2010 in Education Law | Permalink | Comments (0)