Posted by: Mary Bryson, Whitney Harris and Tiffany Thompson
S-1 P-1 v. D. Turlington
United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit
January 26, 1981

Background:
Seven students from Clewiston High School in Hendry County, Florida were expelled in 1977-78 and also in the 1978-79 school year for “misconduct.” Each student/plaintiff was “classified as either educable mentally retarded (EMR), mildly mentally retarded, or EMR/ dull normal.” Although, plaintiff S-1 was not classified as “seriously emotionally disturbed” and therefore could not be an exhibition of his disability. According to the other plaintiffs, their rights were violated under the Education for all Handicapped Children Act and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.

Decision/Rationale:
The Education for all Handicapped Children Act (EHA) states that “all handicapped children have the right to a free and appropriate education,” According to the court, the students’ rights were violated under the EHA. The court also found that under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, any handicapped student could not be expelled when the issue relates to his/her disability. The court felt that the students had been harmed by their removal from Clewiston High School during their time of expulsion, and therefore determined that an injunction would be necessary to ensure the students’ rights.

Impact on Education:
Through the case, S-1 P-1 v. Turlington, the rights of the students were violated under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Education for all Handicapped Children Act (EHA). Educators should be aware that under EHA, a student who is handicapped has the right “to a free and appropriate education” and under Section 504, a student cannot be punished for a misconduct that was a direct result of his/her disability. Although students with disabilities should not be treated differently, it is important for educators to keep a watchful eye to protect the student in case they were to participate in a misconduct that is a result of their disability.

Applicable Quiz Question: True/False

Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 states that a student with a disability can be expelled if the misconduct is a direct result of his/her disability.