Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

T.S. v. Talladega County Board of Education

United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Eastern Division

April 27, 2018

T.S., a minor by and through his parents and legal guardians, et al., Plaintiff,
v.
TALLADEGA COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION, et al., Defendants.

          MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER

          VIRGINIA EMERSON HOPKINS, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.

         This is a civil action filed by the Plaintiff, T.S.[1], a minor, by and through his parents and legal guardians, Troy and Misty Stephenson. (Doc. 1). The Plaintiff sues the Talladega County Board of Education (the “Board”), Childersburg Middle School, Dr. Suzanne Lacey (individually and in her official capacity as the Superintendent of the Board), Jena Jones (individually and in her official capacity as the Principal of Childersburg Middle School), Michael Bynum (individually and in his official capacity as the Assistant Principal of Childersburg Middle School), and Anita Foy (individually and in her official capacity as a teacher at Childersburg Middle School). T.S. alleges that he was given corporal punishment after he wrote the name “Trump” on the board of his classroom. He asserts that the Defendants are liable under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 (“Section 1983”) for: violating his right to free speech guaranteed by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution (Count One); and violating his right to due process guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution (Count Two). The Plaintiff also alleges that the Defendants are liable for the Alabama state law claims of: assault and battery (Count Three), and intentional infliction of emotional distress (Count Four).

         The case comes before the Court on: Lacey's Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings (doc. 5); the Board's Motion To Dismiss (doc. 7); Childersburg Middle School's Motion To Dismiss (doc. 8); and the Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings filed by Jones, Bynum, and Foy (doc. 16). For the reasons stated herein, the Motions To Dismiss filed by the Board and Childersburg Middle School will be GRANTED. The remaining motions will be GRANTED in part, and the Plaintiff will be given an opportunity to amend his Complaint.

         I. STANDARD FOR RULING ON A MOTION TO DISMISS[2]

         Generally, the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure require only that the complaint provide “a short and plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a). However, to survive a motion to dismiss brought under Rule 12(b)(6), a complaint must “state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face.” Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007) (“Twombly”).

         A claim has facial plausibility “when the plaintiff pleads factual content that allows the court to draw the reasonable inference that the defendant is liable for the misconduct alleged.” Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (citing Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556) (“Iqbal”). That is, the complaint must include enough facts “to raise a right to relief above the speculative level.” Twombly, 550 U.S. at 555 (citation and footnote omitted). Pleadings that contain nothing more than “a formulaic recitation of the elements of a cause of action” do not meet Rule 8 standards, nor do pleadings suffice that are based merely upon “labels or conclusions” or “naked assertion[s]” without supporting factual allegations. Id. at 555, 557 (citation omitted).

         Once a claim has been stated adequately, however, “it may be supported by showing any set of facts consistent with the allegations in the complaint.” Id. at 563 (citation omitted). Further, when ruling on a motion to dismiss, a court must “take the factual allegations in the complaint as true and construe them in the light most favorable to the plaintiff.” Pielage v. McConnell, 516 F.3d 1282, 1284 (11th Cir. 2008) (citing Glover v. Liggett Group, Inc., 459 F.3d 1304, 1308 (11th Cir. 2006)).

         II. FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS IN THE COMPLAINT

         The Complaint sets out the following facts:

11. Plaintiff, at all times material hereto, was an 8th grade student at Childersburg Middle School (hereinafter “CMS”) during the 2016-2017 school year. Plaintiff was a student in Defendant Anita Foy's (hereinafter “Foy['s]”) 8th grade class.
12. On or about November 10, 2016, two days after the 2016 United States Presidential Election, Plaintiff wrote then-president-elect Donald Trump's name on the classroom chalkboard/whiteboard in Foy's classroom. Plaintiff wrote the word “Trump” on the board. Plaintiff was then sent to the principal's office by Foy.
13. Plaintiff's parents, Troy and Misty Stephenson (hereinafter “Parents”) were notified via telephone by Defendants that Plaintiff was going to be corporally punished for writing “Trump” on the classroom board. Plaintiff's Parents did not consent nor did they give permission to Defendants to punish Plaintiff by corporal punishment. In fact, Plaintiff's Parents expressly prohibited Defendants from corporally punishing Plaintiff.
14. On or about November 10, 2016, Defendants administered corporal punishment to Plaintiff by paddling him on his buttocks causing physical injury, shame and humiliation, emotional trauma and mental anguish.
15. The Talladega County Board of Education's Code of Conduct and Attendance (hereinafter “Code”) defines the scope and administration of corporal punishment for CMS. Section IX of the Code states as follows: “Corporal punishment shall be administered on a limited basis and only after other forms of punishment have been tried and proven to be ineffective.[3]
16. Section VII of the Code defines the Student Code of Conduct and the Classification of Violations and Administrative Options. Specifically, Section VII states that “Each classroom teacher will deal with general classroom disruption by utilizing in-class disciplinary measures, by telephoning the parent(s) of record or guardian(s) when feasible. Only when the action taken by the teacher is ineffective, or the disruption is severe, shall the student be referred to the principal or his/her designee.” 17. Defendants administered corporal punishment to Plaintiff in violation of the ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.