The Center’s attorneys represented
school districts in the following cases which have had a significant
impact on the law of public education.
Board of Education of Independent School
District No. 92 v. Lindsay Earls, 536 U.S. 822, 122 S.Ct.
2559, 153 L.Ed.2d 735 (2002): In 1998, the Tecumseh Board
of Education developed its student drug-testing program which
included a policy of random drug testing of students engaged
in competitive extracurricular activities. Under the policy,
students who tested positive would have to participate in
drug counseling to remain in the activity. The policy did
not provide for suspensions, loss of academic credit, or criminal
prosecution resulting from a positive test. The policy was
challenged by a student who was represented by the Americans
Civil Liberties Union (“ACLU”). The United States
Supreme Court determined that the policy was constitutional.
As a result of this decision, the question of whether school
districts could require random drug testing of students participating
in extracurricular activities other than athletics was answered
in favor of school districts.
In re: Matter of Tax Levy of Ardmore,
959 P.2d 580, 1998 OK 43: Ardmore Public Schools submitted
a building fund levy at the February general election. The
building fund levy failed to pass so the school district submitted
it for a special election in April; the building fund levy
passed by a majority of the voters in April. A taxpayer protested
the tax levy claiming that the neither the Oklahoma Constitution
nor the Oklahoma Statutes allowed for the calling of a second
election question in the same year as a previous election
when the measure was defeated. The Oklahoma Supreme Court
determined that the law allows for another election to be
called and held to consider a levy which was previously defeated.
This case determined a question of law that had not previously
been decided by the Oklahoma Supreme Court and ruled in favor
of school districts.
Harjo v. Board of Education of Ind.
School Dist. No. 7, 976 P.2d 1096, 1999 OK CIV APP 35:
After a probationary teacher was terminated, he sued the school
district alleging that it failed to provide him with an admonishment
and plan of improvement. The school district responded that
an admonishment and plan of improvement was not needed because
the basis for the teacher’s termination was not related
to inadequate teaching performance but was based on misconduct.
The Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals ruled that a school district
did not have to admonish and place a teacher on a plan of
improvement when the teacher’s actions leading to termination
amounted to misconduct as opposed inadequate teaching performance.
This decision clarified when school districts must admonish
a teacher and that school districts do not have to admonish
a probationary teacher who engages in misconduct.