Court Case Timeline

Events

Plessy vs. Ferguson

1896

b. Plessy, an African-American man who lived in Louisiana, sued the state because it allowed public institutions to segregated services and buildings.
c. The US Supreme Court ruled that segregation laws for public facilities were constitutional because they were “separate but equal.”
d. For education, this meant that students were segregated based on the color of their skin, and were not provided with the same resources as white students were provided.

Brown vs. DOE

1954

b. Oliver Brown sued the Board of Education of Topeka, arguing that segregation was unconstitutional, and did not provide equal opportunity.

c. The Supreme Court ruled that segregation in schools is unconstitutional, and that the practice of it must end. It overturned Plessy vs. Ferguson and ruled that de jure racial segregation violated the 14th amendment.

d. The orginial decision did not explicitly spell out an end to segregation in schools, however, the second decision in 1955 did. Because of Brown II, students cannot be denied education based on the color of their skin, they can also not be segregated.

Diana vs. DOE

1970

b. Because an intelligence test was only being given in English, a student who spoke Spanish was placed into a classroom with students who were mentally disabled.
c. The court ruled that tests must be given in other forms in order to evaluate the students to her fullest potential.
d. For education, it established that students cannot be placed into special education classrooms based on tests that are culturally biased or given in a language that is not the primary language of the student.

PARC vs. PA & Mills vs. BOE (DC)

1972

b. Seven students were excluded from public schools in DC because of learning ad behavior problems- the schools claimed they did not have enough money to provide the students with special education services.
c. The court ruled that a lack of funds is not an excuse for a lack of services for students who need special education services.
d. For education, this requires that funds be available for all students. This means that if funds are not available for special education classrooms then they must be made by cutting funds from other services in the school to make funds for all services.

Larry P. Vs. Riles

1979

b. A lawsuit was filed against the school district Superintendent (Riles), the California BOE, and the San Francisco BOE that challenged the use of IQ tests as the sole placer of students into special education classrooms.
c. The court ruled that the placement of African-American children in special classes was inappropriate because of unfair testing due to IQ tests that failed to consider different cultural backgrounds.
d. For education, it establishes that IQ tests cannot be the sole basis for placing a child into a special education classroom.

BOE vs. Rowley

1982

b. Ann Rowley, a first-grader in New York, who was deaf, was not being given an interpreter for her classes even though her parents requested the school to include one in her IEP. The school believed that because Amy could read lips and was given an FM wireless hearing aid in the classroom that she did not need one.
c. The Supreme Court (6-3) agreed with the Rowley’s that Amy was not receiving free appropriate public education by being denied an interpreter.

d. BOE vs. Rowley defined the term “free appropriate public education.” It is defined as “consisting of educational instruction specially designed to meet the unique needs of the handicapped child, supported by such services are necessary.”

Honig vs. DOE

1988

b. A school board in California was taken to court after they indefinitely suspended two students for being violent and having disruptive behavior related to his disability.
c. The Supreme Court ruled 6-2 that the school board violated the Education for All Handicapped Children Act.
d. For education, this means that students cannot be removed indefinitely because of their actions caused by their disability. Schools must instead work with, and provide, another method other than zero-tolerance with the students.