Summaries posted March 2011

North Carolina Supreme Court holds that administrators must articulate an important or significant reason for failing to provide student an alternative educational setting during her long-term suspension

King v. Beaufort County Board of Education, 364 N.C. 368 (2010), summarized by Ingrid M. Johansen, posted March 3, 2011

The Beaufort County Board of Education suspended V. King for the remainder of the school year for her involvement in a multistudent fight. The board made no offer of an alternative educational setting, and King brought suit alleging that this failure denied her access to the sound basic education guaranteed by the state constitution.

State law school may condition official recognition of a student group on the requirement that the group open eligibility for membership and leadership positions to all students

Christian Legal Society Chapter of the University of California, Hastings College of the Law v. Martinez, 130 S. Ct. 2971 (2010), summarized by Ingrid M. Johansen, posted March 4, 2011

Court orders school to reinstate student suspended for wearing a nose ring

Iacono v. Croom, No. 5:10-CV-416-H, 2010 WL 3984601 (E.D.N.C. Oct. 8, 2010), summarized by Ingrid M. Johansen, posted March 3, 2011

Court dismisses claims from suit of former UNC–W employee removed for unacceptable personal conduct

Jolly v. University of North Carolina at Wilmington, No. 7:09-CV-136-BO, 2010 WL 2024094 (E.D.N.C. May 19, 2010), summarized by Ingrid M. Johansen, posted March 3, 2011

Edwin Jolly worked in information technology for the University of North Carolina at Wilmington for approximately twenty-two years before he was dismissed for unacceptable personal conduct. He alleged that his dismissal was the result of race, religion, and age discrimination and also that it violated his rights to due process, equal protection, and free speech. This digest concerns UNC–W’s motion to dismiss Jolly’s Section 1983 claims (that is, his due process, equal protection, and free speech claims) as well as his tort-law claims based on state law.

Nonattorney parent does not have standing to litigate her son’s constitutional claims

R.W. v. Wake County Public Schools, No. 5:07-CV-136-F3, 2010 WL 3452376 (E.D.N.C. Sept. 1, 2010), summarized by Ingrid M. Johansen, posted March 3, 2011

Betty Adams filed a complaint in federal court alleging that the Wake County Public Schools’ failure to provide her son, R.W., the special education and services mandated by an earlier consent order violated his rights under both the state and federal constitutions. Although R.W. was named as a plaintiff in the suit, and all of the constitutional rights raised belonged to him, he did not sign the complaint; conversely, although Betty Adams alleged no harm to her own constitutional rights, she was the signing plaintiff.

Court rejects custodian’s claim that her termination was based on disability discrimination

Blackburn v. Trustees of the Guilford Technical Community College, 733 F. Supp. 2d 659 (M.D.N.C. 2010), summarized by Ingrid M. Johansen, posted March 3, 2011

Transferred employee’s disability discrimination claim fails

Williams v. Brunswick County Board of Education, 725 F. Supp. 2d 538 (E.D.N.C. 2010), summarized by Ingrid M. Johansen, posted March 3, 2011

On June 4, 2007, Lorene Williams, director of pre-K and student services in the Brunswick County schools, submitted a request for a six-month medical leave. Although no doctor recommended that she take medical leave, Williams cited her “diabetic levels” and “accompanying gynecological problems” as the reason for the leave. Her request for leave was granted.

Court addresses standing and joinder issues in case brought under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)

L.K. v. North Carolina State Board of Education, No. 5:08-CV-85-BR, 2010 WL 3239505 (E.D.N.C. June 23, 2010), summarized by Ingrid M. Johansen, posted March 3, 2011

State law that prohibits advertisements for alcohol in college newspapers is a permissible regulation of constitutionally protected speech

Educational Media Co. at Virginia Tech, Inc. v. Swecker, 602 F.3d 583 (4th Cir. 2010), cert. denied, 131 S. Ct. 646 (2010), summarized by Ingrid M. Johansen, posted March 3, 2011

School teacher’s knee injury suffered while ascending stairs to second-story classroom is not a compensable injury due to “accident” for workers’ comp purposes

Shay v. Rowan Salisbury Schools, 696 S.E.2d 763 (N.C. Ct. App. 2010), appeal dismissed, 364 N.C. 435 (2010), summarized by Ingrid M. Johansen, posted March 3, 2011

Maureen Shay taught at Salisbury High School in a second-story classroom. Before November 3, 2006, she always took the elevator to the second story because she had a hard time climbing the stairs; after that date she took the stairs because the elevator became inoperable and remained so for six weeks. A month later, Shay’s knee “gave out” as she was taking the stairs to the second floor. After diagnosis and treatment, she sought workers' compensation benefits for a meniscus tear.