The First Amendment right to free speech is rooted in our constitution, providing an individual with the freedom to express their opinions and ideas without censorship or legal repercussions. Schools are now looking for guidance on how to respond and handle a situation where a student is kneeling before the national anthem without violating any constitutional rights.
School Law Bullet
While it is unknown if this language will be enough for the Third Circuit to consider limiting or reshaping the state-created doctrine, it is a step, and is not calling into question the scope and reach of the doctrine. Plaintiff’s attorneys may still very well transform an ordinary tort claim into a constitutional violation in order to attach liability onto school districts, in situations like school-related injuries or COVID-19 policies and protocols.
Both federal agencies acknowledged the challenges faced by students, families, teachers and schools during this time. Community and student needs are continually changing. Nonetheless, schools must provide supports and services to students so that they receive a free appropriate public education as required under IDEA as well as Section 504.
Third Circuit has temporarily reinstated Governor Wolf’s gathering size limits while the Commonwealth appeals the Pittsburgh district court’s ruling in the County of Butler case.
This vote provided school districts with the discretion to proceed with their own restrictions and policies as to what sports may participate and in what capacity. But who has the authority to allow fans and family members into a stadium or gymnasium during a sporting event?
Recent Federal Court Decision Holding Wolf’s Limit on Crowd Size Unconstitutional Has No Impact on Public SchoolsSeptember 18th, 2020
On its face, the Governor’s limitations on crowd size also applied to public gatherings including school functions and sporting events. Public confusion over what this ruling might mean for schools is inevitable.
Whether the plan is a full in-person model, blended learning model, or full remote model, there will inevitably be unforeseen circumstances as school entities implement their 2020-2021 reopening plans.
The Federal judge noted DeVos’ Final Rule is not in accordance with Congress’ mandate to allocate CARES funds to non-public schools “in the same manner” as the ESEA.
As of August 17th, 2020, Pennsylvania’s Department of Education (“PDE”) is requiring everyone within the school community to wear face coverings at all times while in school, even when six feet of social distancing is being maintained.
Whether the schools ultimately decide to play or not play, the best preparation for any legal challenge is to listen to and consider all the risks and make a reasonable decision on the record.