School suits

Florida schools are spending millions of dollars defending against frequent and often frivolous lawsuits, writes the St. Pete Times. Students sue if they have to share valedictorian honors or if they fail a critical test. School bus mayhem ends up in court. At one school, a lesbian student sued because she wasn’t allowed to wear a shirt and tie, rather than a feminine drape, in her yearbook photo.

A 1999 study by the American Tort Reform Association found that 25 percent of school principals said they had faced a lawsuit or court settlement in the last two years.

Zero-tolerance policies were supposed to prevent lawsuits by limiting principals’ flexibility. Instead, parents sue to overturn over-the-top punishments. More lawsuits.

About Joanne


  1. A cosmic irony is at work here, of lessons in “diversity” and “self-esteem” coming home to roost. Tragic that so much time and taxpayer money are going up in smoke.

  2. Bill Leonard says:

    There is another factor at work here: in many cases, a judiciary that, for whatever reasons, is not doing its job in declaring a great many of these suits frivolous, and summarily throwing ’em out of court.

    Case in point: back in the ’70s, when yrs, truly was working as a newspapaer reporter covering the courts, a transvestite in San Jose, CA, filed a civil rights suit in the local federal court branch. Seems a dress shop owner would not allow him to try on dresses, and he felt his civil rights were violated. On first hearing, the judge threw the matter out as being frivolous and without merit.

    Anybody want to bet the matter wouldn’t go to trial these days?

  3. Bill,

    What a sad story from a less enlightened time. πŸ™‚

    If I ran into a bigoted storeowner, I’d storm out and take my business elsewhere. And in fact I’ve been boycotting a restaurant where I was the target of ethnic “humor” by the employees. I don’t have litigitis, though that disease is increasingly catchy. Achoo!

  4. Richard Brandshaft says:

    “In Hillsborough County, Robinson High School senior Nicole “Nikki” Youngblood filed suit after her picture was left out of the school yearbook when she refused to wear a feminine drape instead of a shirt and tie as she wished.”

    The people who wasted the money were the school officials, who would rather waste money on lawyers than let a girl wear a shirt and tie in a yearbook picture. What is it with jerks and dress codes?

    “In Pinellas County, two Palm Harbor University High School baseball players sued the school district claiming they were wrongly booted from school because of a roughhousing incident that occurred on a team road trip.”

    Here we just don’t know, and reporter Melanie Ave was sloppy in not giving us enough information. “Roughhousing incident” can mean anything from victimless fun to aggravated assault.

  5. As a parent, you gave up authority over your child when you surrendered them to the State’s “schools”. As an inmate, you give up authority over yourself when you willingly remain in the State’s “schools.” If you don’t like the clothes they make you wear, or the things they teach you, you have only yourself to blame. Take responsibility for your own [child’s] education, and flee the camps – or don’t complain when the rights you willingly gave up are violated as a matter of Standard Operating Procedure. As John Gatto and others have pointed out, the camps are operating exactly as planned. Don’t like the results? “Brother, you asked for it!”

  6. “If I ran into a bigoted storeowner, I’d storm out and take my business elsewhere.”

    That’s exactly the point – in a free market you can take your business elsewhere, so usually suing the shop is silly. With public schools, theoretically you can take your kid elsewhere, but you pay twice for her education – taxes to the government schools plus tuition to a private school (or the labor of homeschooling). So people are likely to think the only realistic option is to sue.

  7. My wife(cheer-leader sponsor) was threatened with a law suit over a girl who didn’t make the squad.

    It was eventually dropped but it is pretty scary to think we would have to hire an attorney for this kind of junk.

  8. A no-brainer, really. The trial lawyers, you see are big political contributors. Follow the money, from the school district (who raised the money, in the first place “for the children”) to the trial lawyers, to the politicians. And the role of the judges in this? Don’t ask.

  9. Tort reform is a bad idea. What is needed is common sense on the part of those getting sued. Why hire a lawyer when the issues are as straightforward as to be obviously “frivolous”? Why not try a common-sense defense? Ask that the stupid case get thrown out! Demand it!

    I don’t want to lose my right to petition the government (via the courts) for redress of grievances. The people who clamor for tort reform are one thing: losers.

    If a big payout is the result of a case, someone fucked up. Hiring a lawyer may have been step two or step one in that process, but don’t pretend that a lack of tort reform is the cause of your problem, losers.