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Weekly Caselaw Updates

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In re G.S.

An en banc panel of the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court held that a school district’s decision to expel G.S. violated his constitutionally protected right to free speech. G.S.’s expulsion resulted from the district’s determination that G.S. had violated its Student Discipline Code by posting violent song lyrics on Snapchat, even though…

An en banc panel of the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court held that a school district’s decision to expel G.S. violated his constitutionally protected right to free speech. G.S.’s expulsion resulted from the district’s determination that G.S. had violated its Student Discipline Code by posting violent song lyrics on Snapchat, even though G.S. had put up the… Continue reading In re G.S.

Ladley v. Pa. State Educ. Assoc.
Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court

An en banc panel of the Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court reversed the trial court’s summary judgment order. Teachers filed a declaratory judgment action and civil rights case, challenging the constitutionality of the Pennsylvania State Education Association’s (PSEA) collection of fair share fees and its implementation of the religious objector provisions of the Pennsylvania Fair Share Law.… Continue reading Ladley v. Pa. State Educ. Assoc.

Eastern Univ. Acad. Charter Sch. v. Sch. Dist. of Philadelphia
Pennsylvania Supreme Court

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court affirmed the order of the Commonwealth Court, which held that Section 1729-A(a) of the Charter School Law does not impose a mandatory deadline by which a school district must decide to renew or not renew a charter. Here, a charter was not renewed. The school appealed, claiming that the district’s failure… Continue reading Eastern Univ. Acad. Charter Sch. v. Sch. Dist. of Philadelphia

R.S. v. Hempfield Area Sch. Dist.
Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court

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… Continue reading R.S. v. Hempfield Area Sch. Dist.

Propel Charter Sch. v. Sch. Dist. Pittsburgh
Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court

The Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court affirmed the denial of Propel Charter School’s application to operate a Multiple Charter School Organization (MCSO). The Court concluded that the State Charter School Appeal Board properly denied Propel’s appeal from a Hearing Officer’s decision granting the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s motion to supplement the record with Propel’s 2017-18 school performance… Continue reading Propel Charter Sch. v. Sch. Dist. Pittsburgh

Propel Charter Sch. v. Pa. Dep’t Educ.
Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court

The Pennsylvania Commonwealth Court affirmed the denial of Propel Charter School’s application to operate a Multiple Charter School Organization (MCSO). The Court concluded that the State Charter School Appeal Board properly denied Propel’s appeal from a Hearing Officer’s decision granting the Pennsylvania Department of Education’s motion to supplement the record with Propel’s 2017-18 school performance… Continue reading Propel Charter Sch. v. Pa. Dep’t Educ.

J.S. v. Manheim Twp. Sch. Dist.
Pennsylvania Supreme Court

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that a student did not engage in unprotected speech and did not cause a substantial disruption to the school environment when he posted a Snapchat story joking about a potential school shooting. The student made the post on his cell phone while he was at home. The school district suspended… Continue reading J.S. v. Manheim Twp. Sch. Dist.

In re Appeal for Formation of Indep. Sch. Dist. Consisting of Highspire
Pennsylvania Supreme Court

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court clarified the scope the Secretary of Education must employ when assessing whether a municipality may move its territory from one school district to another. Here, the citizens of Highspire Borough petitioned to leave the Steelton-Highspire School District and be absorbed into the Middletown Area School District. The Secretary of Education bore… Continue reading In re Appeal for Formation of Indep. Sch. Dist. Consisting of Highspire

Hatikvah Int’l Acad. Charter Sch. v. E. Brunswick Twp. Bd. of Educ.
3rd Circuit

The parties disputed who should pay for a special needs student’s private education. H.K. was a student at Hatikvah, a public charter school. After H.K.’s parents unilaterally moved H.K. to a private school, Hatikvah and H.K.’s parents agreed on an individualized education program (“IEP”) that kept H.K. at the private school. H.K.’s resident school district… Continue reading Hatikvah Int’l Acad. Charter Sch. v. E. Brunswick Twp. Bd. of Educ.

Y.B. v. Howell Twp. Bd. of Educ.
3rd Circuit

The Third Circuit dove into an alphabet soup of education law. The case was brought under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). IDEA mandates a free appropriate public education (FAPE) for disabled students. A FAPE under IDEA is determined through an Individualized Education Program (IEP) for the particular disabled student. The student was sent… Continue reading Y.B. v. Howell Twp. Bd. of Educ.