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Seal v. Morgan

229 F.3d 567 (2000)

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Seal v. Morgan

United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit

229 F.3d 567 (2000)

Facts

A public-high-school student, Dustin Seal (plaintiff) gave a ride in his car to a friend, who left a hunting knife in the car’s glove compartment without Seal’s knowledge. The next day at school, Seal was accused of drinking alcohol and gave the vice-principal permission to search the car. The vice-principal found the knife in the glove compartment. The high-school principal held a disciplinary hearing and suspended Seal pending expulsion for possession of the knife on school grounds in violation of a zero-tolerance policy. A hearing authority officer of the Knox County Board of Education (school board) (defendant) upheld the suspension pending expulsion despite testimony establishing that Seal did not know the knife was in his car. The school board held a hearing at which Seal was represented by counsel, who argued that Seal did not know the knife was in his car. The school board voted unanimously to uphold the recommendation to expel Seal. Seal filed suit in district court and argued that the school board’s decision was irrational in violation of substantive-due-process rights under the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution. The school board argued that it was required under the zero-tolerance policy to expel Seal regardless of whether he knew the knife was in his car while on school property. The school board filed a motion for summary judgment on this issue, which the district court denied. The school board appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Gilman, J.)

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