Seth Jacobs
Max Stieve
Blog 7
WOOD ET AL v. STRICKLAND ET AL.
No. 73-1285.
Supreme Court of United States.
Argued October 16, 1974 - Decided February 25, 1975.

Background:
Peggy Strickland and Virginia Cain, as well as another female student admitted to “spiking” the punch at an afterschool event with about twenty-four ounces of malt liquor. The school principal suspended the three girls for a week. Later during the day at a locked meeting, the county’s superintendent expelled the girls for the rest of the semester. The reasons why the superintendent expelled the students was based on a policy in the student handbook stating: “possessions or consuming alcoholic beverages at a school sponsored event.” The girls asked for a hearing, which was denied and the expulsion was held. In district court, the court stated the school board was right in their decision. The girls appealed the decision and the Court of Appeals stated the school board had no evidence to expel the girls. Finally, the Supreme Court decided to hear the case.
Decision and Rationale:
On February 25th, 1975 the Supreme Court ruled that the school officials were shrouded with immunity from lawsuits regarding monetary compensations. A precedent was agreed stating the only way school officials could be sued is if they were purposeful and violated regarding rights of the individual. The Supreme Court also stated should be immune in damages relating to taking reasonable actions. The reasoning for this is so school officials can inflict punishment without having that constant fear of possibly being sued.
Implications:
Schools have to be aware and up to date with public school law. Expelling students without a hearing is clearly against the law and the school can be sued for it. As educators we have to be knowledgeable of the rights of students, teachers, and the school itself. These rights have to be respected otherwise we open ourselves to the possibility of a lawsuit, in a country that is overflowing with lawsuits.
Quiz Question:
Who did the Supreme Court favor in the final ruling?