Hatton v. Wicks

744 F.2d 501 (1984)

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Hatton v. Wicks

United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
744 F.2d 501 (1984)

EL

Facts

A principal (defendant) called three of five sixth-grade teachers into his office to meet with him, a student with substantial disciplinary problems, and the student’s mother. The principal opted not to include two of the other sixth-grade teachers in the meeting because those teachers taught in temporary outbuildings and the principal felt that the student would behave better in a class in the main school building. The principal asked the student which teacher he would like to have for the upcoming school year. The student selected Ethel Hatton (plaintiff). When the student arrived for the first day of school, Hatton refused to admit him. The principal summoned Hatton to his office to discuss the matter. Hatton walked out on him. The principal requested Hatton meet with him again to discuss the matter 10 days later, but Hatton failed to appear at the appointment. Hatton was discharged by the principal for insubordination. Hatton appealed the decision to the superintendent, the entire school board, and the state department of education, which all upheld her termination. Hatton next sued the principal in federal court, alleging violations of her equal-protection rights under the Fourteenth Amendment. The principal claimed it was his administrative right to decide how to approach selecting a teacher for students with special disciplinary needs. The district court determined Hatton’s dismissal did not violate her constitutional rights. Hatton appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Williams, J.)

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