Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Appeals Court Upholds Grant of Unemployment to Special Education Teacher

The Ninth District Court of Appeals has upheld the decision of a trial court finding that a special education teacher was terminated without just cause.

In that case, the special education teacher was discharged by her board of education for allegedly abusing a student in her care. She was initially denied unemployment benefits, after there was a finding that she was discharged for just cause. However, the teacher continued her appeals, and the decision was subsequently reversed by the review commission.

The review commission's decision was appealed to the Court of Common Pleas, which upheld the decision of the review commission. That decision was affirmed by the Ninth District. In reaching its decision that the trial court's decision was not unlawful, unreasonable, or against the manifest weight of the evidence, the appeals court relied on the facts that a county children services did not reveal bruising on the child's wrist or neck. Also, the children services’ final determination was that the claim of abuse was unsubstantiated and the Center for the Teaching Profession after conducting an investigation determined there was no abuse and renewed the appellee individual's teaching certificate. Furthermore, the state Department of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities did not place the appellee individual on its registry of those who had abused students.

Accordingly, the teacher was able to collect her unemployment benefits.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Supreme Court of Ohio sets oral arguments in school background check case

The Supreme Court of Ohio has set oral arguments for June 8, 2010 in a dispute over the constitutionality of a law requiring the termination of all school employees with certain convictions.

In that case, the plaintiff was terminated his contract from his position of 11 years with the Cincinnati Public Schools after it was found out that he had been convicted of selling narcotics in 1976. The conviction had been expunged from his record and the plaintiff had been rehabilitated and not committed any other crimes.

The lawsuit alleges violations of both state and federal law. The federal court asked the Supreme Court of Ohio to clarify whether the statute violated two provisions of the Ohio Constitution, namely, (1) whether the statute was impermissibly retroactive under Article II, Section 28 and (2) whether the statute violated the Contracts Clause of the Ohio Constitution.

After the Supreme Court makes its determination, the lawsuit will likely be sent back to the federal court for determination of the federal issues.