United States District Court, N.D. Alabama, Eastern Division
T.S., a minor, by and through his parents and legal guardians, TROY STEPHENSON and MISTY STEPHENSON, Plaintiff,
TALLADEGA COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION, et al., Defendants.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
ANNEMARIE CARNEY AXON, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE.
T.S., a minor, by and through his parents and legal
guardians, Troy Stephenson and Misty Stephenson, claims that
his assistant principal corporally punished him for writing
President Donald Trump's name on a classroom chalkboard
when T.S. was in 8th grade at Childersburg Middle School.
T.S. asserts 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and state law claims
against Defendants Talladega County Board of Education,
Michael Bynum, and Anita Foy.
the court is Defendant Anita Foy's motion for partial
dismissal of T.S.'s claims against her. (Doc. 28). The
court entered a briefing schedule on the motion and ordered
T.S. to respond on or before July 5, 2018. (Doc. 30). T.S.
did not file a response. On July 10, 2018, Ms. Foy filed a
reply in support of her motion to dismiss. (Doc. 31). The
court considers the motion ripe for adjudication because T.S.
has had adequate time to prepare a substantive response.
reasons explained below, the court GRANTS Ms. Foy's
STANDARD OF REVIEW
to Rule 8(a)(2), a complaint must contain “a short and
plain statement of the claim showing that the pleader is
entitled to relief.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 8(a)(2). Rule
12(b)(6) enables a defendant to move to dismiss a complaint
for “failure to state a claim upon which relief can be
granted.” Fed.R.Civ.P. 12(b)(6).
survive a motion to dismiss, 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). “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). A plausible claim for
relief requires “enough fact[s] to raise a reasonable
expectation that discovery will reveal evidence” to
support the claim. Twombly, 550 U.S. at 556. A
complaint need not contain detailed factual allegations, but
a complaint must contain “more than labels and
conclusions, and a formulaic recitation of the elements of a
cause of action will not do.” Twombly, 550
U.S. at 555.
resolving a motion to dismiss, the court must “accept
the allegations in the complaint as true and constru[e] them
in the light most favorable to the plaintiff.”
Miljkovic v. Shafritz & Dinkin, P.A., 791 F.3d
1291, 1297 (11th Cir. 2015) (quoting Hill v. White,
321 F.3d 1334, 1335 (11th Cir. 2003) (per curiam)). Although
the court must accept well-pleaded facts as true, the court
is “not bound to accept as true a legal conclusion
couched as a factual allegation.” Twombly, 550
U.S. at 555.
FACTUAL ALLEGATIONS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
April 27, 2018, the court granted in part and denied in part
the Defendants' motions to dismiss T.S.'s original
complaint. (Doc. 23). The court ordered T.S. to file, on or
before May 11, 2018, an amended complaint that “clearly
sets out the factual basis for holding each remaining
Defendant liable for any claim made against them.”
(Doc. 23, p. 11). On May 9, 2018, T.S. filed an amended
complaint which is now the operative pleading. (Doc. 24).
to the amended complaint, during the 2016-17 school year,
T.S. was a student in Ms. Foy's 8th grade class at
Childersburg Middle School. (Doc. 24, ¶ 8). On November
10, 2016, two days after the 2016 United States presidential
election, T.S. wrote President-Elect Donald Trump's last
name on the classroom chalkboard or whiteboard. (Doc. 24,
¶ 9). Ms. Foy sent T.S. to the principal's office.
(Doc. 24, ¶ 9). Ms. Foy or Assistant Principal Michael
Bynum called T.S.'s parents and told them that T.S.
“was going to be corporally punished for writing
‘Trump' on the classroom board.” (Doc. 24,
¶ 10). T.S.'s parents did not consent to corporal
punishment and expressly asked the school not to punish T.S.
in this manner. (Doc. 24, ¶ 10).
his parents' request, Mr. Bynum “administered
corporal punishment to T.S. by paddling him on his buttocks
causing physical injury, shame and humiliation, emotional
trauma and mental anguish.” (Doc. 24, ¶ 11). T.S.
alleges that Mr. Bynum administered corporal punishment in
violation of the Talladega County Schools Code of Conduct and
Attendance. (Doc. 24, ¶¶ 12-14). Section VII of the
Code of Conduct and Attendance states:
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.
(Doc. 24, ¶ 13). Section IX of the Code of Conduct and
Attendance provides that “[c]orporal punishment shall
be administered on a limited basis and only after other forms
of punishment have been tried and ...