The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Louis last week upheld in part and reversed in part a lower case ruling involving a Maumelle High School student who initially made the school basketball team but was then cut after additional tryouts were held.
Teresa Bloodman, the mother of the student, filed a lawsuit after that her son was removed from the team and then lost a credit toward graduation when his schedule was redrawn to include a study hall and then a home-economics class.
She argued her son’s rights, as well as school policies, were violated.
The lawsuit was originally dismissed by U.S. District Judge James Moody, who said a student’s participation in school sports was not protected under the U.S. Constitution’s due process clause. Moody also said the lawsuit failed to say how the boy’s rights were violated.
In three-page order, the appeals court judges agreed with the lower court’s ruling that Bloodman’s lawsuit had failed to state a due-process claim based on the boy’s removal from the team.
The three judge panel, however, said the lower court erred when it “dismissed the complaint without considering whether the school policies created a justifiable expectation that the son would not be transferred and reassigned.”
The court said the lower court must determine whether the school had policies “prohibiting transfers without parental consent and … prohibiting reassignment to a class after eight weeks of the semester have elapsed.
— Arkansas News Bureau