The Online Resource for Massachusetts Poverty Law Advocates

Successful Challenge to Zero Tolerance

Date: 
12/15/2009
Author: 
Center for Law and Education (CLE)

Attorneys from Choate, Hall & Stewart LLP and the Center for Law and Education recently became among the first lawyers in the country, if not the first, to successfully challenge a school district's "zero tolerance" weapons policy as constitutionally invalid. The case, LB, a Minor by his Mother and Next Friend, VG v. Brian A. O’Connell et al, involved a 14-year old honors student at a Worcester, MA middle school with a spotless disciplinary record who confiscated a pocket knife from a classmate who was threatening his friend. Because the student did not immediately go to the office to turn the knife in (he planned to do so later), he was suspended from school for an entire year. 

The case is part of Choate, Hall and Stewart's collaboration with the Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race and Justice at Harvard Law School and the Center for Law and Education to help ensure students stay in school and receive a quality education.


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