Minton v. St. Bernard Parish School Board

United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit.

October 22, 1986

In 1974, Connie Minton, a minor and Mississippi resident, was injured by a school bus operated under the supervision of the St. Bernard Parish School Board. She and Isaac D. Minton, the administrator of her estate, took action to try and recover her injuries in the Louisiana state court. This proved successful. She and Isaac then tried to obtain the funds from the school board fruitlessly.

Decision and Rationale:

The school board appealed the original decision that was in favor of Connie on the grounds that she was neither a resident of the parish nor the state, therefore she should not be she was still awarded for her injuries. They said this would violate the school board’s Eleventh Amendment rights. With the refusal to pay Connie her funds, her Fourteenth Amendment rights were violated. The school was found not to be protected by the Eleventh Amendment, because the tests that identify parish school boards as local independent agents say that they are not shielded by the state's eleventh amendment immunity and therefore, are not entitled to Section 1983 claims. The damages were reduced, so the Mintons tried repeatedly to raise them back to the original ruling. This was unsuccessful, though.

Impact on Teaching:

As educators, we should do everything in our power to avoid incidents like this in the first place. Proper precautions probably could have saved Connie Minton from being injured at all. Regardless of where a person is from, if a minor is hit by a school bus, the driver should be responsible and take necessary action to remedy the situation. It is ridiculous that something like this happened, and that the Parish School Board would not give the funds over to the injured girl. I would say the most important thing to be taken from this case is that we need to be careful in general, because the safety of our students (and minors who are not our students) can be a huge liability. We are responsible for the well-being of those around us. If we cause damage, we should repay it.

Quiz Question:

Connie Minton was rewarded no funds for her injuries, because she was not a resident of the parish or state.

True or False

Chynna Seymour