Jasmine A. Rutledge and Lindsey Little

Jeffrey A. DAURY, et al., Plaintiffs, Appellants,v.Charles SMITH, et al., Defendants, Appellees.

United States Court of Appeals, First Circuit.

Heard January 6, 1988.

Decided March 11, 1988.

The plaintiff, Jeffrey Daury, was a teacher in a Pittsfield, Massachusetts school system. He was a principal for a few years. One of the schools in the district closed and he was demoted. Afterwards, he had three occurrences (meltdowns) and the school board decided that he needed a leave from work to deal with the change but, they required Daury to consult with a psychiatrist before returning. He suid the school system for trying to require him to consult with a psychiatrist. Daury stated it deprived him of his right to privacy as guaranteed by the ninth and fourteenth amendments. Daury reported that the demand for him to seek treatment happen in retaliation for his "union activities and free speech". In regards to seeking treatment, Daury’s defense team used the ruling in, Roe v. Wade, which states that a person has the constitutional right of privacy. This included medical records.

The magistrate courts recommended that the court rule in favor of the defendants (Pittsfield School Committee, the superintendent, assistant superintendent, and other school members). “The court decided not to exercise jurisdiction on the pendent state law claims [ninth and fourteenth amendment on privacy] and dismissed the entire complaint.” The end result was that the court determined that it was not a violation of Daury’s privacy in the terms of requiring him to see a psychiatrist. It was in the interest of the students and school that he seek therapy, so that makes it a public issue and not private. The request that he see a psychiatrist was to ensure the safety of the schools.

Implication to Teaching:
Like everyone else, teachers have rights. Therefore, it can be beneficial to a teacher to join a teacher’s union. However, if a person is considered unstable, it is in the best interest of the school to provide a safe environment for students. Teachers should be subject to psych evaluations if the safeties of students are at question. In this case, the teacher felt violated after being told that he should seek therapy. This case proved that the release of this information was not considered private, because it pertained to the safety of the remaining individuals in the school. Some of teachers' rights, such as privacy, are subject to the school's discretion because the public welfare of children is at stake.

Quiz Question:
Which court case ruling stated that a person has the constitutional right of privacy?

Answer: Row v. Wade