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Goss v. Lopez

    Brief Fact Summary. Students of the city public school system were suspended from school without a hearing either before or shortly after the suspensions.

    Synopsis of Rule of Law. Student’s have a legitimate property right in their education, which is protected by the Due Process Clause. This right cannot be taken away without appropriate procedural hearings.

    Facts. The Ohio Revised Code allows a school principal to suspend a pupil for up to 10 days or expel him for misconduct. If the student is expelled he is entitled to hearing that could lead to his reinstatement. However, if the student is just suspended, there is no provision for a hearing or reconsideration of the suspension. The Appellees, Lopez and others (Appellees) were all suspended from the Columbus Pubic School System for up to 10 days, each without a hearing.

    Issue. Did the Columbus Public School System violate the Appellees’ due process rights when it suspended each without having a hearing?

    Held. Yes. Ohio may not withdraw the right to an education on the grounds of misconduct absent fair procedures to determine if the misconduct has occurred.

    Dissent. The majority has created a new constitutional right for school aged children. They cannot be suspended without a hearing. This case removes the control of the classroom from the trained educational administrators and imposes judicial interference.

    Discussion. The majority provides students with a manner of protecting their right to attend school by making the administrators document the misconduct and provide the report to the student’s parents. At that point, the student may choose to refute the allegation and request a hearing. This protects the rights, but also gives the administrators the freedom to discipline children as necessary and maintain order in the schools.


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