Articles Posted in Education Law

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Appellant pled guilty to six counts of second-degree sexual assault in 2000 and was sentenced to six consecutive life sentences. The current matter began when Appellant filed a Wyo. R. Crim. P. 36 motion requesting that the spelling of his surname in his judgment and sentence order be corrected from DELOGE to DeLoge or De Loge. The district court denied the motion, explaining that capitalization in the caption on court documents is not a clerical error. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not misspell Appellant’s name when it capitalized its letters, and therefore, there was no clerical error in the judgment and sentence. View "DeLoge v. State" on Justia Law

Posted in: Education Law

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Cheyenne Newspapers, Inc. (the Tribune-Eagle) submitted a public records request to Laramie County School District Number One (the School District) asking to inspect certain school board member email communications. The School District, in response, downloaded the emails to a compact disc and made the compact disc available to the Tribune-Eagle subject to a fee for the time the School District staff spent retrieving the records. Thereafter, the Tribune-Eagle filed a declaratory judgment action seeking a ruling that the Wyoming Public Records Act does not allow the School District to charge for access to electronic records when the request is for inspection of the records and not for a copy of the records. The district court concluded, as a matter of law, that the School District was entitled to the fees it charged the Tribune-Eagle for access to the requested emails. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that Wyo. Stat. Ann. 16-4-202(d)(i) allows a public record custodian to charge for inspection of an electronic record if the inspect request requires production of a copy of the record, and reasonableness is the limitation on the costs that may be charged a public records applicant under the statute. View "Cheyenne Newspapers, Inc., v. Board of Trustees of Laramie County School District Number One" on Justia Law

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During the 2011-2012 school year, Plaintiff was a continuing contract teacher who worked for the Laramie County School District No. One. In spring of 2012, the District Superintendent gave Plaintiff notice that he proposed that Kinstler be terminated. On September 4, 2012, a hearing officer recommended that the District accept the Superintendent’s proposal. On September 17, 2012, the District’s Board of Trustees voted to accept the recommendation. Kinstler was paid his normal salary from August 15, 2012, the date he would have started to work, through the date that the Board acted on the recommendation to terminate him. Kinstler subsequently sued the District, asserting that the District failed to pay him the salary and value of benefits allegedly owed him for the 2012-2013 academic year. The district court partially granted Kinstler’s motion for summary judgment and entered an order with respect to his salary and benefits claim. The Supreme Court reversed and vacated the award, holding that because Kinstler’s termination was effective at the end of the 2011-2012 school year, he had no statutory right to compensation following that date. View "Laramie County Sch. Dist. v. Kinstler" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff, a high school student, filed suit against his school district and his teacher for injuries he received during a science demonstration conducted in the school gymnasium. Defendants moved for summary judgment under the Wyoming Governmental Claims Act. The district court granted the motion, concluding that Plaintiff’s injury did not fall within any exceptions to governmental immunity. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the district court did not err in concluding that Defendants’ alleged negligence did not fall within the exceptions to governmental immunity for negligent operation or maintenance of a building or for negligent operation or maintenance of any recreation area. View "Fugle v. Sublette County Sch. Dist. #9" on Justia Law

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Sheridan Newspapers, Inc. filed a petition requesting release of minutes reflecting discussion by the Board of Trustees of Sheridan County School District #2 of a proposed multi-purpose recreational facility during executive sessions. In response, the Board asserted that the executive sessions were allowed under the Wyoming Public Meetings Act (WPMA), and the minutes were confidential. After reviewing the minutes in camera the district court entered an order granting summary judgment for the Board, concluding that all issues discussed by the Board during executive session were within the framework of what may be kept confidential pursuant to the WPMA. The Supreme Court reversed, holding that the minutes were so vague as to reveal virtually nothing about the Board’s discussions during executive sessions, and therefore, the minutes were not entitled to confidential treatment. Remanded. View "Sheridan Newspapers, Inc. v. Bd. of Trs." on Justia Law

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After the Wyoming Department of Family Services (DFS) learned that JM, a minor, had several unexcused absences from school, a deputy count attorney filed a petition alleging that JM was a neglected child because Mother had failed to provide adequate education for JM’s well being. Following a hearing, the juvenile court entered an order of neglect. Mother appealed, claiming that the juvenile court was without jurisdiction to adjudicate the petition because the district court was required to give her notice and counseling before the petition was filed, and she did not receive such notice or counseling. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the compulsory attendance statutes upon which Mother relied, which require school districts to give parents notice or counseling based on students’ unexcused absences, do not apply when a juvenile petition is filed by a prosecuting attorney under the Child Protection Act on the basis of a complaint from DFS alleging neglect. View "In re JM" on Justia Law

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Two years after Cindy Hill, the Superintendent of Public Instruction for the State, the Wyoming Legislature passed Senate Enrolled Act 0001 (Act), which removed the Superintendent as the administrator and chief executive officer of the Department of Education (Department), created the new position of Director of the Department, and assigned to the Director nearly all the duties that were formerly the responsibility of the Superintendent. On the day the Act was signed into law, Hill and two Wyoming citizens (collectively, Appellants) filed an action seeking a declaratory judgment that the Act was unconstitutional. The district court for the First Judicial District of Wyoming certified questions of law to the Wyoming Supreme Court. The Supreme Court concluded that the Act unconstitutionally deprives the Superintendent of the power of “general supervision of the public schools” entrusted to the Superintendent in Wyo. Const. art. XII, 14 by impermissibly transferring the power to the Director. View "Powers v. State" on Justia Law

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In an effort to address a perceived drug and alcohol problem among its students, Goshen County School District No. 1 ("school district") adopted a policy requiring all students who participated in extracurricular activities to consent to random testing for alcohol and drugs. At issue was whether the district court properly granted summary judgment in favor of the school district where both parties agreed that there were no genuine issues of material fact but disagreed about whether the district court correctly applied the provisions of the Wyoming and United States Constitutions to the undisputed facts. The court held that appellants failed to demonstrate that the school district's policy subjected students to searches that were unreasonable under all of the circumstances and therefore, the policy did not violate Article 1, section 4 of the Wyoming Constitution. The court also held that the fact that the policy did not subject students to unreasonable seizures was, therefore, determinative of appellants' equal protection claim as well. The court further held that appellant had not demonstrated infringement of due process rights where appellants' speculation that judicial review might be denied in the future was insufficient to support a due process claim now. Accordingly, because appellants failed to prove that the school district's policy was unconstitutional, there was no basis for their claim that they were entitled to a permanent injunction or for their claim that the district court erred in granting summary judgment. View "Hageman v. Goshen County Sch. Dist. No. 1" on Justia Law