SJC: JANE DOE v. WORCESTER PUBLIC SCHOOLS

KeywordsSchool and School Committee, Enforcement of discipline, Superintendent of schools. Injunction. Practice, Civil, Preliminary injunction

“The plaintiff, Jane Doe, a student at a public high school in Worcester, was suspended for 152 school days after an assistant principal found a small amount of marijuana and two makeshift pipes in the plaintiff’s locker.  When the plaintiff appealed from her suspension to the superintendent, the district’s school safety director, acting as the superintendent’s designee, shortened the suspension to 112 school days.  The plaintiff thereafter filed a complaint challenging the delegation of the superintendent’s statutory authority to hear and decide the plaintiff’s appeal.  The plaintiff also moved for a preliminary injunction seeking immediate reinstatement to school, which was granted.

The defendants seek a reversal of that decision, arguing that the motion judge erred in concluding that the plaintiff is likely to succeed on the merits of her claim because the relevant statute, G. L. c. 71, § 37H (d), permits the superintendent to delegate responsibility for hearing and deciding suspension appeals.  We disagree, and therefore affirm the judge’s order.”

Click here for the full text of the SJC decision.

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