445 F.2d 412 (7th Cir. 1971), 18742, Bright v. Isenbarger

Docket Nº:18742.
Citation:445 F.2d 412
Party Name:Darcel L. BRIGHT et al., Plaintiffs-Appellants, v. Donald I. ISENBARGER et al., Defendants-Appellees.
Case Date:July 13, 1971
Court:United States Courts of Appeals, Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit

Page 412

445 F.2d 412 (7th Cir. 1971)

Darcel L. BRIGHT et al., Plaintiffs-Appellants,


Donald I. ISENBARGER et al., Defendants-Appellees.

No. 18742.

United States Court of Appeals, Seventh Circuit.

July 13, 1971

Rehearing Denied July 29, 1971.

Page 413

Ivan E. Bodensteiner, Fort Wayne, Ind., for plaintiffs-appellants.

Jerome J. O'Dowd, Jerome B. Van Orman, Fort Wayne, Ind., for defendants-appellees.

Before KILEY, CUMMINGS and STEVENS, Circuit Judges.


Purportedly without adequate notice or hearing, plaintiffs were expelled as sophomores at Central Catholic High School in Fort Wayne, Indiana. Count I of their complaint was based on Section 1983 of the Civil Rights Act (42 U.S.C. § 1983), and Count II alleged that they were deprived of a property right, arising out of the paying of their tuition, without due process of law. The district court held that the Fourteenth Amendment does not apply to the internal operations of this parochial school and therefore dismissed the action. In affirming, we adopt Judge Eschbach's fine opinion (314 F.Supp. 1382) and have little to add thereto.

Central Catholic High School had a rule requiring all students to be present from 8:15 a.m. to 3:10 p.m. on school days unless they were given permission to be absent. They were admonished that tardiness would result in suspension and probation, with expulsion resulting from another violation during probation. The students were warned that they must not be on the premises of a nearby public high school during their own regular school hours. Since the two plaintiffs were seen leaving the public school at 8:15 a.m. during a school day, they were suspended for a day and placed on probation on February 12, 1970. A few weeks thereafter, they again visited the public school during their own school hours, resulting in their expulsion for the balance of the school year.

The district court observed that only 'state action' is within the prohibitions of the Fourteenth Amendment and held that the plaintiffs had failed to demonstrate the requisite governmental involvement. In so holding, the district court reasoned that the 'state action' doctrine was developed in response to efforts to eliminate private racial discrimination. 314 F.Supp. at p. 1392. Accordingly, it thought that there might be a less demanding standard of what constitutes sufficient state involvement where there are allegations of racial discrimination. 1 314 F.Supp. at p. 1394. We find it unnecessary to decide whether state action cases not involving attacks on racial discrimination require a more demanding standard of what constitutes sufficient state involvement. In this case the state played no role in defendants' expulsion...

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