W. Payne v. Peninsula School District

This court case is active

This case involves a lawsuit filed by the mother of an autistic child after her child was regularly placed in a small closet-sized room by the child’s schoolteacher when the child engaged in disruptive behavior.  After several years of litigation, a federal district court judge ruled that the suit can proceed to trial on claims that the child’s constitutional rights under the Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment have been violated.  The district court also ruled that the law at the time of the teacher’s conduct made it clear that students have the right to be free of excessive force and therefore the teacher’s qualified immunity defense did not bar a trial.  The school district has appealed that ruling to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. 

The ACLU has a longstanding interest in having the courts not adopt an overly narrow view of qualified immunity, because it impairs the ability to hold the government accountable for violations of individuals’ constitutional rights.  On December 31, 2013, ACLU-WA moved for leave to file an Amicus Curiae Letter in the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

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