J.S. v. Bethlehem Area School District

794 A.2d 936 (2002)


P was in the eighth grade. He created a website on his own computer while at home. The website, titled 'Teacher Sux,' contained several web pages that made derogatory comments about his algebra teacher and the principal. D began disciplinary proceedings against P that consisted of two days of hearings before the Bethlehem Area School Board (School Board). The School Board concluded that P violated the Student Code of Conduct by 1) making threats to a teacher, 2) harassing a teacher, and 3), showing disrespect to a teacher. The School Board voted to permanently expel P. P appealed the expulsion to the trial court, alleging that the School District violated Student's First, Fifth, Sixth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights. The trial court affirmed Student's expulsion and, on appeal, it was affirmed. P filed a civil rights action against Ds alleging that Ds deprived P of his civil rights under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 when it allegedly violated P's First, Fifth, Sixth, and Fourteenth Amendment rights. Ds filed a motion for summary judgment. The trial court found that P's claims were barred by res judicata. P appealed.