Student Rights Class Action

Summary:

The Indiana Court of Appeals has Issued its Opinion in a Case Involving Students’ Rights in the State of Indiana

May 2, 2008 – Ron Waicukauski and Jana Strain have been working on this case with Michael Weisman and Rebecca McIntyre of Weisman & McIntryre in Boston, Massachusetts since 2006. In April 2006, nine students filed this case against Governor Mitch Daniels, Indiana State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Sue Ellen Reed and the Indiana State Board of Education.

The case sought a judicial determination that (1) the Indiana Constitution imposes an enforceable duty on the General Assembly to provide an education that prepares all of Indiana’s children to function in a complex and rapidly changing society, to discharge the duties and responsibilities of citizenship, and to compete successfully with their peers for productive employment and opportunities for advancement through higher education; and (2) that Indiana’s current system of financing education violates the Indiana Constitution because it fails to provide the Plaintiffs and thousands of other similarly situated Hoosier public school children with the constitutionally guaranteed education.

In its opinion, the Court of Appeals recognizes, for the first time, that the Indiana Constitution “imposes a duty on the State to provide an education that equips students with the skill and knowledge enabling them to become productive members of society” and that it is appropriate for the courts to declare whether the State is fulfilling its duty to provide an education that “meets modern requirements.” The decision reverses the trial court’s dismissal of the case.