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Former Georgia college president found personally liable for violating student's due process rights

(02/05/13 11:07am)

A former Valdosta State University student whose due process rights were violated in his 2007 expulsion has won $50,000 in compensatory damages, according to a judgment filed Monday. A federal jury ruled in favor of Hayden Barnes on Friday, after several years of legal battle. The university’s former president, Ronald Zaccari, who expelled Barnes, was found “personally liable” for the damages, according to court records.

Arizona legislators propose constitutional "loyalty oath" to graduate high school

(02/19/13 2:02pm)

“I, ______, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge these duties; so help me God.” High school students in the state of Arizona would be required to recite the above oath before graduating if a proposed bill is passed. The bill is an effort to “encourage our high school students to take an active interest in what our Constitution is,” bill co-sponsor Rep.

"Harlem Shake" parodies in Alabama, Pennsylvania land students in trouble

(02/20/13 7:47pm)

On Monday, students at the University of Alabama who tried to film a Harlem Shake video on the school's quad learned they couldn't gather without a permit from the university, according to reports in The Crimson White, Alabama's student newspaper. The school requires all groups to apply for a grounds use permit for events, speeches, rallies or protests on campus, and it can take up to 10 days for the school to approve permits. The large crowd that gathered was told by campus police to disperse, and the student who organized the event was given a ticket, The Crimson White reports.

TRANSPARENCY TUESDAY: Loosening the restraints -- how to get information about school "seclusion" tactics

(02/05/13 5:41pm)

Managing unruly kids who lash out at classmates and teachers is one of the most delicate tasks for schools, and those who must manage emergencies when physical safety is at stake understandably resist being second-guessed. But there's evidence that students are at times pinned, tied up or locked away in closet-sized isolation rooms for just being annoying even if they do not present a danger to others. Federal statistics indicate that disabled students and racial minorities are disproportionately likely to be placed under physical restraint, raising questions about whether the safety measures are administered even-handedly. Finding out what techniques your school district uses to respond to assaultive kids -- and how often -- should be a matter of a single public records request.

Center for Rights petitions Prince George's County Public Schools over copyright policy

(02/13/13 7:10pm)

The Center for Rights sent a petition signed by nearly 2,000 to the Prince George’s County Public Schools Board of Education today, asking the district to abandon a draft copyright policy that would have declared students’ and teachers’ works to be property of the district. Evan Greer, Campaign Manager at the Center for Rights, said the group hopes the district will publicly denounce the policy, which district officials last week said was on hold indefinitely. The Center for Rights is an organization that helps raise awareness about individual's rights and how to defend them. “What we don’t want is for people to take their eyes off this issue and for them to push it through and for students and teachers to suffer because people thought it was a done deal,” Greer said.

Court cites Hazelwood to defend school's removal of religious reference

(02/13/13 7:17pm)

As co-president of the Taconic Hills Middle School student council, an eighth grade student had a warm message to share with her classmates at the school’s annual “Moving Up” ceremony in June 2009. “As we say our goodbyes and leave middle school behind, I say to you, may the LORD bless you and keep you; make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you; lift up His countenance upon you, and give you peace." But a decision issued last month from the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals in New York defended the New York school district’s right to remove that very closing line from the unnamed student’s speech.