Judicial Review of a Broken Funding Scheme On September 28, 2017, in William Penn School District v. Pennsylvania, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court decided it had the authority and duty to decide whether Pennsylvania’s school funding scheme is so broken it violates the Pennsylvania constitution. The case was first dismissed by the Commonwealth Court as posing…

Federal Court in Wilkes-Barre Stops School from Disciplining Cheerleader for Off-campus Speech Yesterday, federal District Court Judge A. Richard Caputo issued a preliminary injunction forbidding the Mahanoy School District from punishing one of its cheerleaders for an off-campus Snapchat post. The minor plaintiff, identified as “B.L.” is a sophomore at the Mahanoy Area High School…

A 15-year-old Connecticut student at a private boarding school in Connecticut (The Hotchkiss School) sued her school in federal court after she contracted tick-borne encephalitis on an educational trip to China the school organized. A jury awarded her $41.75 million. My first reaction to the headline, and maybe you share this view, was that the…

I just wrote a post on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s recent decision to re-visit when schools and municipalities may be held liable for dangerous conditions on their properties. Brewington The case I wrote about was Brewington v. City of Philadelphia, 149 A.3d 901 (Pa. Commw. Ct. 2016). The PA Supreme Court will decide in Brewington whether…

Suing School Districts and other Pennsylvania municipal bodies has traditionally been very difficult because of an immunity statute called the “Political Subdivision Tort Claims Act.” It’s a long name for a Pennsylvania law that says that government agencies are immune from being sued unless the claim falls within eight very narrow exceptions to immunity. One…

The Dilemma of Non-Uniform Tax Assessments The only thing certain for Pennsylvanians, at least in 2017, is death and real estate taxes. This adaptation of a famous quote was attributed to one of our greatest Pennsylvania residents, Benjamin Franklin. Amid efforts to entirely eliminate real estate taxes, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court just addressed the issue…

School police did not violate 4th Amendment by Searching Student’s Bag The Ohio Supreme Court unanimously held on May 11, 2017 that a warrantless school search of a high school student’s unattended book bag was not an unreasonable search under the Fourth Amendment. The court held that such searches are justified by a school’s obligation…