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.

 

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