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Jennings v. Wentzville R-IV School District

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Case Review

Style of the case: Elizabeth Jennings, et. al. v. Wentzville R-IV School District, et. al. No. 04-1668       397 F.3d 1118 (2005)

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Facts: On August 30, 2002, a photograph session was set for the Holt High School varsity cheerleaders, followed by a squad performance. A few hours before the photograph session, Rachel and Lauren drunk vodka in their friend’s house. After the session, they went back to finish their vodka then returned to the football jamboree for their performance. Several cheermembers noticed that two to be drunk and informed their advisor.

Moran, their advisor, investigated Rachel and Lauren but the two firmly denied.

            Moran informed the parents of the two and reported the matter to the School Activities Director, David Gerdeman (397 F.3d 1118). Gerdeman told the matter to the Principal, John Waters and other officials to investigate the matter. While the investigation was being conducted, Moran was removed from her position. The parents of the Rachel and Lauren also intituted a case against the school based on section 1983 pursuant to Missouri state law.

            After collecting overwhelming evidence, Rachel and Lauren were suspended for ten days for violating the school policy. Waters informed Rachel’s mother through phone but the latter ended the conversation. Waters also informed Lauren’s parents, but only got the answering machine. The parents, on the other hand, ignored to contact the school administrator to discuss the matter.

Issue: Whether Rachel and Lauren were deprived of fair trial and of their constitutional liberty.

Holding: The district court granted summary judgement favoring the school. The Federal Court of Appeals affirmed the district court’s decision.

Reason: Section 1983 provides among others the liability of the district school on its failure to train their employees. The court held that in order that the school be held liable for failure of training Moran, the parents must prove that the failure to train has deliberately violated the student’s right to adequate education. On this matter, the parents failed to prove their claim. In addition, the school asserted that Moran was given due training, lectures, and handbooks of the training and of school’s policies. Furthermore, the court asserted that the District’s failure to train would not likely result in a constitutional violation (397 F.3d 1118).

            On the right to due process, the court held that the appellants were informed of the suspension and were given time to explain their side. However, the parents did not show any effort to rebutt their case. Indeed, they were afforded due process.

            Moreover, the policy against consumption of alcohol was known by Rachel and Lauren. They even knew that the first offense is punishable by a ten- day suspension. And yet they insisted on drinking.

            Finally, the court held that the summary judgment was not violative of any right or law. It held that the school has a right to investigate matters within its jurisdiction and to implement its policies for the welfare of the students.

Significance: The case resembles the indiscriminate act of some parents just to protect their children despite the fact that fault was clearly committed by the latter. The case also serves as a lesson to students who ignore the school policies and ran for their parents for rescue.


Bulk.Resource.Org. (2008). Elizabeth Jennings, et. al. v. Wentzville R-IV School District, et.     al. No. 04-1668 397 F.3d 1118 (2005) . Retrieved June 6, 2008, from             http://bulk.resource.org/courts.gov/c/F3/397/397.F3d.1118.04-1668.html.

Cite this Jennings v. Wentzville R-IV School District

Jennings v. Wentzville R-IV School District. (2016, Oct 31). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/jennings-v-wentzville-r-iv-school-district/

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