(CN) – Four Michigan teachers who were attacked by students have standing to sue the school district that decided not to expel these children, but the teachers still do not have a case, the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled.
The Lansing Schools Education Association, other affiliated unions and four teachers claimed that Michigan education law required the Lansing School District and its board to expel students who assault their teachers.
According to the teachers’ complaint, one was slapped in the face by a student, one was hit in the face by a thrown wristband, and the other two were hit with chairs.
Their lawsuit aimed to convict school officials of a misdemeanor for their inaction and to cancel the superintendent and principal’s contracts.
Unfortunately for the teachers, however, their case never reached the merits because the trial court found that the plaintiffs lacked standing and the Michigan Court of Appeals affirmed.
But the Michigan Supreme Court brought new hope to the case when it found that the teachers did in fact have standing. On remand, the appeals court affirmed dismissal a second time, saying the school board has the sole power to determine whether an assault occurred, a finding required by the expulsion rule.
“The school board determined that the students’ conduct did not rise to the level of ‘physical assault’ as defined by [the law] to include an intent to cause or attempt to cause physical harm,” Judge Henry William Saad wrote for a three-judge panel.
Furthermore, the teachers failed to name the students in the lawsuit.
“Plaintiffs seek the permanent expulsion of these students without affording them even the most rudimentary due process protections to which they are entitled,” Saad wrote. “The court cannot grant the requested relief without simultaneously depriving the students of their protected right to an education without due process.”