ILNews

Judge dismisses school uniform suit

Michael W. Hoskins
January 1, 2007
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The other shoe has dropped in the Anderson school uniform legal challenge as a federal judge in Indianapolis has dismissed the suit.

U.S. District Judge John D. Tinder granted summary judgment for the school district late Monday, denying a preliminary injunction request from pro se parent plaintiffs Laura and Scott Bell. The couple filed a suit in Madison Circuit Court July 17 against Anderson Community Schools, claiming that a policy set to start on the first day of school Aug. 20 would violate the constitutional right of children to a free education.

Judge Tinder found they "utterly failed" to respond to requests for document discovery and hadn't shown any likelihood to prevail in court. He hinted at dismissal late last week when canceling a hearing set for Monday because of couple's lack of response, and he wrote in this latest 25-page order that this cancellation did not deny them "their day in court."

"The Bells were, however, given all the protections afforded any litigant in federal court and, as pro se litigants, their complaint was liberally read and construed," Judge Tinder wrote. "It was the Bells who did not comply with the requirements of the court's scheduling order."

Any state law claims remaining in the suit would be remanded to state court in Madison County, he added.

This means the dress code - similar to those implemented in other Hoosier school districts such as the Indianapolis Public Schools that took effect this week - can take effect once school begins. The policy limits students to black, navy, or khaki pants or skirts and solid color shirts and sweaters. Students wouldn't be allowed to wear baggy pants or skirts sagging below the midriffs, or shirts with writing on them.
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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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