Lauderdale County School Bd. v. BrownAnnotate this Case
An incident occurred at West Lauderdale High School which led to the suspension and eventual expulsion of four male students. The principal notified the four students' parents and/or guardians of the immediate suspension. (The four male students were identified herein as C.D., E.F., G.H., and I.J.) The matter was pending before the school board, and if the board approved the recommendation, the students could request a hearing before the school board to continue the suspension until such hearing occurred. Three of the four students, E.F., C.D., and G.H., requested a hearing. Prior to the disciplinary hearing, parents of E.F. and C.D. applied for separate ex parte temporary restraining orders (TROs) in the Lauderdale County Youth Court. The ex parte temporary restraining orders were granted without notice ordering that E.F. and C.D. be allowed to return to school and enjoining the superintendent and school board from expelling them or assigning them to an alternative school. At the hearing for the TROs, the school district objected to reenrollment because the youth court lacked jurisdiction to order the students' return to school. Nonetheless, the court ordered the reenrollment. After a hearing, the school board expelled all four students for one calendar year on the basis that their presence in school was a safety concern for other students. C.D. and E.F., through counsel, moved the youth court for reenrollment. The youth court granted this motion and treated it as an appeal on the record of the expulsion and "not a matter de novo." The school board timely appealed the youth court's decision to the Supreme Court and moved the youth court to stay its judgment pending appeal. Upon review, the Supreme Court concluded the youth court exceeded its statutory authority by reenrolling C.D. and E.F. in high school because the discretion in this situation lied with the school board. Accordingly, the Court reversed the youth court's decision and remanded the case for further proceedings.