Independent School District No. 505 releases statement on Post-Secondary Options

The District has recently been engaged in litigation brought by a former student and that student’s parents challenging a School Board policy related to Post-Secondary Enrollment Option courses.  However, the case was fully and finally dismissed on its merits on July 7, 2017, by the Murray County District Court pursuant to the District’s motion to dismiss the case.

Specifically, this family claimed that a provision in the District’s PSEO policy that required students to leave the school building when they were not enrolled in District-run courses during the school day violated state and federal law.  The Court upheld the District’s policy, and found that it did not violate the rights of students, nor did it violate any state or federal laws.  It is notable that this matter was decided on a motion to dismiss, meaning that the Court had to accept all of the factual allegations from the complaint as true, despite the fact that the District disagrees with many of the alleged “facts” outlined in the complaint.  Yet, despite viewing the case in the light most favorable to the Plaintiffs, the Court still ruled for the District on the merits.  It is also worth noting that numerous PSEO students voiced their approval of the policy throughout the school year, and preferred the freedom to leave school grounds when they were not enrolled in coursework.

The District is pleased by this decision and hopes that it puts this issue to rest, ending the needless diversion of funds to defend against these unfounded challenges to the policy.  Unfortunately, the District had to pay over $13,000 in legal fees, in addition to paying its $1,000 insurance deductible for coverage.  The District’s insurer then covered the significant additional costs for the defense of this lawsuit.  These hard costs are in addition to the unknown amount of administrative time that District employees had to spend in responding to this case.

The District has acted lawfully and prudently in safeguarding finite resources and the school’s learning environment for the benefit of the entire school community.  The District’s actions related to the implementation of this policy and defending the District against this legal challenge have at all times been taken to benefit all students and taxpayers within the District by ensuring that it continues to provide a high-quality education.  With this decision by the court, the District looks forward to continuing to work cooperatively with all students, families, and community members in pursuit of the best interests of the student body as a whole.

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