Shaun Dunn and Bill McCullough, Plaintiffs-Appellants, vs Fairfield Community High School District NO 225, Defendant-Appellee
No. 98-1234
Argued Sept. 17, 1998.--October 15, 1998

This court case is about two band students, Shaun Dunn and Bill McCullough at Fairfield Community High School. Dunn and McCullough violated school rules by playing a guitar solo during a band performance at a basketball game and in response to their actions received a failing grade in band. Fairfield clearly outlined in their policies that band members were prohibited from departing from the planned musical program during band performances, and it specifically forbade guitar solos during performances. The policies went further to state that disciplinary actions range from loss of all points for the performance to lowering of the final grade to dismissal from the band. Dunn and McCullough chose to go against these rules deliberately. Dunn and McCullough's arguments was that the school violated their right to substantive due process and their Eighth Amendment right to be free of cruel and unusual punishment when it imposed the disciplinary measures. They also stated that the Illinois law to a free public education through the end of high school was violated

The court decided that while the school may have overreacted their actions did not violate any right cognizable under the federal civil rights statutes. The court stated that if this had been a case in which Dunn and McCullough had complained that Fairfield threw them out of Band class and effectively condemned them to an "F" in the course without giving them some kind of notice and a hearing, they would delve into the nature of the property interest Illinois law creates in a public education. The court affirmed that negligent conduct can virtually never meet the constitutional threshold.

Impact on Education:
This court cases' impact on education is that students cannot willfully disobey the rules and not receive punishment. The school's rules and regulations were clearly stated and the boys were warned of the actions that would take place if they disobeyed. There are a lot of students that believe that their actions are, in their minds, a stand for their rights. What they don’t know is that there are certain rules and regulations that govern a school and is in the interest of their well-being. As a student of that school district those boys should have found a way to state their cause in an appropriate manner that they would be heard. This is needed for students and or teachers who feel that they are being treated unfairly. Any issue of a student should be carried out in a manner goes within the boundaries of the school districts rules and regulations.

Quiz Question
What are two rights that Dunn and McCullough thought were violated by Fairfield Community High School?
Due Process and Eighth Amendment

Gabrielle Slay