Articles Posted in Education Law

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The Supreme Court reversed the judgment of the circuit court directing the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE) to produce student growth percentile (SGP) data for certain Loudoun County Public School students under the Virginia Freedom of Information Act. The Supreme Court held (1) as a matter of law, SGP data constitutes teacher performance indicators; and (2) SGPs are confidential under Va. Code 22.1-295.1(C) because the information in the SGPs disclose identifiable teacher information. Therefore, the circuit court erred in ordering the production of these documents containing teachers’ identifiable information. The court remanded the issue of attorney’s fees for determination in light of the holding in favor of the VDOE on appeal. View "Virginia Education Ass’n v. Davison" on Justia Law

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Plaintiffs bought this lawsuit against the Fairfax County School Board seeking declaratory judgment and preliminary and permanent injunctive relief for the allegedly unlawful expansion of the school board’s non-discrimination and student code of conduct policies. Plaintiffs included Jack Doe, a student at a public high school, who brought suit by and through his parents as next friends, and Andrea Lafferty, a citizen, taxpayer, and resident of Fairfax County. Jack Doe’s parents were citizens, taxpayers, and residents of Fairfax County. The Board filed a motion to dismiss and demurrer, arguing that Plaintiffs lacked standing. The circuit court dismissed without leave to amend, concluding (1) Andrea Lafferty and the Does individually lacked taxpayer standing, and (2) Jack Doe lacked standing because his disappointment with or anxiety or confusion over the school board’s action did not constitute a case or controversy or an adjudication of a right. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the parties failed to allege an actual controversy sufficient to bring a declaratory judgment, and therefore, they likewise may not recover the injunctive relief requested therein. View "Lafferty v. School Board of Fairfax County" on Justia Law

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In 1992, Plaintiff was convicted of a felony drug offense. In 2006, Plaintiff applied to the Fairfax County School Board for a teaching position and disclosed her prior conviction on her application. The Board subsequently hired Plaintiff as a special education teacher. In 2012, the school system’s Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources determined that, pursuant to Va. Code 22.1-296.1(A), Plaintiff’s 2006 hiring had been in error because her conviction made her ineligible for employment by the Board. The Board subsequently filed a complaint seeking a declaratory judgment that section 22.1-296.1(A) made Plaintiff ineligible for hire. The circuit court entered an order declaring that the Board lacked authority to hire Plaintiff under section 22.1-296.1(A). The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the Board lacked authority to make the contract, and therefore, the contract was void ab initio. View "Butler v. Fairfax County School Board" on Justia Law

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Su, a citizen of the People's Republic of China, was accepted by the Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) after attending high school in Minnesota. At the time Su matriculated at VCU, he was classified as an out-of-state student for tuition purposes. Su subsequently sought to change his classification to in-state status and filed an application for in-state tuition benefits. VCU's residency appeals officer denied Su's application, finding that federal law prohibited an F-1 visa holder to establish Virginia domicile. VCU's residency appeals committee denied Su's appeal. The circuit court reversed, holding (1) VCU was incorrect in asserting that Su had no domicile and that he was an V-1 visa holder, rather than a permanent resident, when he matriculated; and (2) Su had established that he was domiciled in Virginia and had abandoned any previous domicile for at least one year prior o the date of entitlement. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the circuit court erred in reversing VCU's decision denying Su's application for in-state tuition benefits and that VCU's decision could not reasonably be said to be contrary, capricious or otherwise contrary to law. View "Va. Commonwealth Univ. v. Su" on Justia Law

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This case arose from two civil investigative demands (CIDs) issued to the University of Virginia and the Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia (collectively, UVA) by the attorney general, pursuant to the Virginia Fraud Against Taxpayers Act (FATA). The CIDs sought information relating to the research of a climate scientist that had taught at UVA, received a series of grants to fund his research, and, with other climate scientists, had allegedly falsified data to indicate an upturn in the earth's surface temperatures due to the use of fossil fuels. UVA petitioned the circuit court to set aside the CIDs, arguing that the attorney general had no statutory authority to serve CIDs upon agencies of the Commonwealth and that the CIDs were defective because they failed to state the nature of the conduct alleged. The circuit court granted the petition and set aside the CIDs, without prejudice. The Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the circuit court, but, unlike the circuit court, set aside the CIDs with prejudice, holding that the University of Virginia, as an agency of the Commonwealth, did not constitute a "person" under the FATA and therefore could not be the proper subject of a CID. View "Cuccinelli v. Rector & Visitors of Univ. of Va." on Justia Law