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A Minnesota Court of Appeals Victory

We are excited to announce that Children’s Law Center of Minnesota (CLC) volunteer attorneys Ann Marie Hanrahan, Associate General Counsel at 3M, and Steven Lucke, Charles LaPlant and Mike Wahoske of Dorsey & Whitney, were successful in their appeal of CLC client N.Y.B’s expulsion from Anoka Hennepin School District. The Minnesota Court of Appeals held that the School District’s retroactive efforts to substantiate its expulsion decision were insufficient and that the expulsion violated N.Y.B.’s  constitutional due process rights.

N.Y.B.’s first appeal in 2008 resulted in a significant decision benefiting all students subject to disciplinary proceedings in Minnesota—it reiterated to schools that disciplinary decisions must be supported with sufficient facts and reasoning. Read more about this decision in CLC’s Winter 2009 Newsletter,  in an article titled “CLC Attorneys Bring Child Issues Before the Minnesota Court of Appeals.”

After our successful first appeal, the school board provided additional explanation of the reasoning behind its decision, as required by the Court of Appeals in its remand.  In its reasoning, the school board disclosed an additional ground that had been considered in making its decision.  N.Y.B. did not have notice or an opportunity to be heard on the additional ground for expulsion.   The Court of Appeals found that the failure to provide the client with timely notice of one of the grounds relied upon for expulsion was a prejudicial violation of her right to due process.  This decision helps protect children’s fundamental right to education by ensuring that students are given sufficient notice and explanation of all grounds upon which a school board might rely in disciplinary proceedings.

Click here to view a copy of the court’s decision: 4.20.10 NYB- MN Court of Appeals Decision