Kilber v. Grand Forks Public School District

820 N.W.2d 96 (2012)

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Kilber v. Grand Forks Public School District

North Dakota Supreme Court
820 N.W.2d 96 (2012)

EL

Facts

A school district (defendant) fired teacher Cornel Kilber (plaintiff) for conduct unbecoming of a teacher. Kilber had received numerous administrative reprimands and was the cause of many parent, student, and staff complaints citing his calling out of special-education, racial-minority, and religious-minority students. Additionally, a parent complained that Kilber sexually harassed the parent’s eighth-grade daughter, which resulted in an administrative letter of reprimand. After years of investigations and administrative citations, the school district held a discharge hearing. At the hearing, a school-board member revealed that she had obtained documents from Kilber’s personnel file that were not introduced into evidence at the hearing. Another school-board member revealed ex parte communications with a parent regarding Kilber’s behavior. The administrative-law judge overseeing the hearing admonished the board members to consider only the evidence presented at the hearing. The school board fired Kilber. Kilber sued the district in state court, alleging the hearing denied him due process of law. In response, the district argued that any procedural errors that may have occurred in the hearing were harmless. The lower court found in favor of the district. Kilber appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Maring, J.)

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