|Back to February Ed Reporter|
|NUMBER 193||THE NEWSPAPER OF EDUCATION RIGHTS||FEBRUARY 2002|
|Court Denies Ridgewood Rehearing|
RIDGEWOOD, NJ - The Third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on January 15 denied a petition by the Ridgewood School District to rehear the court's decision to allow a parents' lawsuit to go forward. The parents filed suit against Ridgewood two years ago, after their children were given a survey asking for personal information without their knowledge or consent.
The lawsuit charges that the "Search Institute, Profiles of Student Life" survey was self-incriminating and that the school district required students to take it, thus violating their First Amendment right not to speak. When a District Court ruled in favor of the school board, the parents appealed. After the Appeals Court announced its decision, the board immediately petitioned the court for a rehearing.
In denying the request, the court stated: "The petition filed by appellees having been submitted to the panel of judges who participated in the decision of this court, and no judge who concurred in the decision having asked for rehearing, the Appellees' Petition for Panel Rehearing is hereby DENIED."
The parent-plaintiffs say they feel vindicated by the panel's decision. "All we want is the right to move forward into 'discovery,'" explained one parent, "which means a full examination of all the evidence and the taking of depositions. If district officials did everything the way they were supposed to - as they claim they have - in administering the survey, why are they so afraid of discovery?"