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THE DOUGHTY LAW GROUP, PCMemoTo:        Summer AssociateFrom:    Barry Doughty, Senior PartnerCC:      Zelma Wiggins, Supervising AttorneyDate:

THE DOUGHTY LAW GROUP, PCMemoTo:        Summer AssociateFrom:    Barry Doughty, Senior PartnerCC:      Zelma Wiggins, Supervising AttorneyDate:

THE DOUGHTY LAW GROUP, PC

Memo

To:        Summer Associate

From:    Barry Doughty, Senior Partner

CC:      Zelma Wiggins, Supervising Attorney

Date:     October 2, 2020

Re:       Research on the Right to Equal Educational Opportunities

A group of African American parents approached our office expressing concerns about the quality and equality of their children’s education in the Arlington Public Schools System.  They want to know whether they have any viable claims against the Arlington Public Schools School Board. 

Included among the parents’ complaints is the exclusion of their children from Advanced Placement classes in the Arlington Public Schools System.    In addition, the parents complained that their children are disproportionately placed in the classes for children with learning disabilities.  Moreover, they expressed concerns about their children being disproportionately suspended from the traditional schools and reassigned to “alternative” schools that provide an inferior education.  

According to a 2019-20 annual report compiled by the Virginia Board of Education, although African American students made up forty percent of the enrollment in the Arlington Public Schools during the 2018-19 school year, they accounted for only three percent of the students in the Advanced Placement classes.  Eighty-five percent of the enrollment in “alternative” schools is comprised of African American students, and eighty percent of the teaching and administrative staff in the Arlington Public Schools is comprised of non-African Americans. Reports for prior years contain substantially similar data.

The parents provided several examples of what they characterized as the unfair and unequal treatment of their children in the Arlington Public schools.   Kofi Akbar, a fourteen-year-old, was excluded from the Advanced Placement classes at his high school even though he had a “B+” average.  When Kofi’s parents, Nia and Kamau Akbar, inquired about the reasons for his exclusion, school administrators told them it was within the discretion of the teachers to recommend students for Advanced Placement classes based upon “their grades and other factors such as conduct, initiative and demonstrated potential.” 

In December of 2019, Asha Kambon, a sixteen-year-old, was in a fight at her high school involving several students.  Asha was an honor roll student and her goal was to attend law school.  Asha was suspended from the school for the remainder of the academic year and enrolled in an “alternative” school.  The school officials acknowledge that, although the curriculum at the alternative school is not as rigorous as the curriculum in the traditional schools, the less rigorous curriculum is appropriate for the students who are assigned to the alternative schools since most of them are “under-performers.” However, the school officials have not produced any data to support this assertion.

 At John Lewis High everyday the students are required to submit to searches of their backpacks, purses and pockets. Many of the parents of John Lewis High School are upset that they are required to have searches everyday and their level of criminal activity on there campus is substantially less that the two predominantly Caucasian schools. Zyon O. Jones is a 17-year-old senior at John Lewis High School and his parents, Melvin and Stephanie seek to challenge this practice that the search is unconstitutional

The Arlington Public School System receives a local supplement from the city.  Additionally, it receives some support from the parents especially those in the more affluent Caucasian majority school zones.  Despite the modest supplemental funding and assistance of a moderately sized wealthy school zone the school system is still designated as a low-wealth school system.

Our firm needs to determine whether the parents have any viable claims against Arlington Public Schools.  I particularly want you to address: (1) whether Asha’s assignment to an alternative school with a less rigorous curriculum violated her constitutional rights, (2) whether Kofi’s exclusion from the Advanced Placement classes violated his constitutional rights and (3) whether Zyons constitutional right against unreasonable search and seizure was violate.  Please analyze these three issues using only the State of Virginia Code, Federal Code, Virginia Case Law and Federal Court 4th Circuit Case Law.  Provide an interoffice memorandum with the following specifications:

Specifics:

  • 12pt Times New Roman Font
  • Double Spaced
  • Justified Alignment
  • Between 2-6 Pages
  • Website URL MUST BE INCLUDED IN CITATION 

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