419 U.S. 565

January 22, 1975, Decided
By: Jennifer Carmack and Jasmine Rutledge

Nine students were expelled from an Ohio high school after destroying school property, the parents were not notified and the students were not given a hearing. According to Ohio state law a principal is supposed to notify parents and a give a reason for being expelled within 24 hours, which the principal failed to do. The students were denied their due process according to the state laws of Ohio. Dwight Lopez was attending a different high school when he was denied due process, and stated that he was innocent but without a hearing no one was able to testify to that. The nine students and parents won in district court, but the school appealed the ruling and the case went to the Supreme Court.
By a ruling of 5-4 the Supreme Court sided with the children and parents, the principals failed to deliver due process. According to the Supreme Court Judges that ruled in favor of the students, expelling a student can harm their reputation, future education, and job prospects; and not allowing them their due process violates their 14th amendment rights. The school argued that “there is no constitutional right to an education at public expense,” and that by expelling the students for 10 days was not “severe detriment or grievous loss.” Four of the Supreme Court Judges dissented stating that “The decision unnecessarily opens avenues for judicial intervention in the operation of our public school that may affect adversely the quality of education.”
Impact on Education:
This case impacted education significantly; it enabled students to practice the 14th amendment and Due Process clause. Students can no long be suspended or expelled for misconduct without the chance to a proper hearing or without being told of their charges. At first, the case seemed only at the administrative level, but it can apply to teachers inside their classroom as well. Teachers should always give their students a chance to explain their self and why they are being punished or penalized before actions are taken. I’ve seen examples where teachers have held actual “court trials” in their classroom (if time permitted) and let the remaining students serve as the jury. The point is to be fair and give students their rights as American citizens to know their alleged charges and have a hearing for their actions.
Quiz Question:
Scenario: Jimmy caused a disturbance in the lunch room on Tuesday by allegedly starting a food fight. He was immediately taking to the principal’s office, written up, and suspended for 3 days. Jimmy was never given the chance to explain his side of the story but was told the reasons for his suspension. Was Jimmy rightfully suspended? Did the principal practice Due Process