R.S. v. Hempfield Area Sch. Dist.

The Pennsylvania  Commonwealth Court reversed an order of the Court of Common Pleas that granted a preliminary injunction to a student requiring a school to admit him to in-person education. The student was transferring from another school district where he had been charged with a weapons violation. Section 1317.2(a) of the School Code provides that “a school district . . . shall expel, for a period of not less than one year,” any student who is found to have a weapon on school property. The student’s new school district determined that he had a weapons violation and required him to use remote learning. But the student believed the weapons charge had been withdrawn. The student had settled with his former school district, which agreed to drop one weapons violation in exchange for the student withdrawing the appeal of his expulsion. But about 10 other charges remained. The Commonwealth Court held that there was no basis for the conclusion that the settlement agreement between the old school district and the student preempted or had primacy over the adjudication of the school board. And the former school board’s adjudication appeared not to have been set aside, vacated, superseded, or reversed. Thus, the Commonwealth Court held that the trial court lacked reasonable grounds to conclude that the student had a likelihood of succeeding on the merits.

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