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Thursday, March 01, 2007

Reporting Pregnancies. A local school policy In Port Washington requires staff members to report student pregnancies to school administration and the student’s parents. The Teachers’ Union and a school social worker sued to prevent enforcement of the policy. The District Court dismissed the case, and the Second Circuit affirmed, holdng that the plaintiffs lacked standing to bring the action.

The Court held that the plaintiffs had suffered no injury in fact. The Court did not believe that the social workers, who would report the pregnancy, would risk serious civil liability or place their licneses in jeopardy. There was no showing that they would have to disclose confidential communications to parents, the principal or the superintendent or that the students will bring suit against the plaintiffs for any such disclosure. The possibility that there might be civil liability was not sufficient enough to provide the requisite injury in fact.

While the plaintiffs also asserted that they would be subject to discipline if they failed to follow the policy, the facts were otherwise. The policy is not mandatory, and the evidence at the injunction hearing indicated that they would not be subject to disciplinary action if the policy were not followed.

The decision in Port Washington Teachers Ass'n v. Board of Education can be found here. And kudos to Decision of the Day for beating me to the punch on blogging on this case.

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