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. I commend Joe for standing up to this tyrant attorney! You ask why? Well I’m one of David Steele victims. I was in desperate need of legal help to protect my child, David saw an opportunity, and he demanded I pay him $3000. Cash. As I received motions and orders from court he did nothing! After weeks of emails asking him to address the legal issues, he responded by saying he was “on vacation “and I should be so lucky to have “my attorney” reply. Finally after lie on top of lie I asked for a full refund, which he refused. He then sent me “bills” for things he never did, such as, his appearance in the case and later claimed he withdrew. He never filed one document / motion for my case! When I finally demanded he refund my money he then turn to threats which scared my family for our lives. It seem unreal we couldn’t believe this guy. I am now over $100,000 in debt digging out of the legal mess he caused my family. Later I was finally able to hire another law office. I met Joe and we worked diligently on my case. I soon learn Joe had a passion for helping people. As anyone who has been through a legal battle it is exhausting. Joe was always more than happy to help or address an issue. Joe was knowledgeable about all my concerns at the same time he was able to reduce the stress and anxieties of my case. He would stay late and come in early, he always went the extra mile to help in any way he could. I can only imagine what Joe and his family has been through, my prayers go out to him and all the victims.

  2. Steele did more than what is listed too. He purposely sought out to ruin me, calling potential employers and then lied about me alleging all kinds of things including kidnapping. None of his allegations were true. If you are in need of an ethical and very knowledgeable family law paralegal, perhaps someone could post their contact information. Ethics cannot be purchased, either your paralegal has them or they do not.

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  4. I think it is safe to say that those Hoosier's with the most confidence in the Indiana judicial system are those Hoosier's who have never had the displeasure of dealing with the Hoosier court system.

  5. I have an open CHINS case I failed a urine screen I have since got clean completed IOP classes now in after care passed home inspection my x sister in law has my children I still don't even have unsupervised when I have been clean for over 4 months my x sister wants to keep the lids for good n has my case working with her I just discovered n have proof that at one of my hearing dcs case worker stated in court to the judge that a screen was dirty which caused me not to have unsupervised this was at the beginning two weeks after my initial screen I thought the weed could have still been in my system was upset because they were suppose to check levels n see if it was going down since this was only a few weeks after initial instead they said dirty I recently requested all of my screens from redwood because I take prescriptions that will show up n I was having my doctor look at levels to verify that matched what I was prescripted because dcs case worker accused me of abuseing when I got my screens I found out that screen I took that dcs case worker stated in court to judge that caused me to not get granted unsupervised was actually negative what can I do about this this is a serious issue saying a parent failed a screen in court to judge when they didn't please advise