Academic Freedom and Education "Contracts"
April 29, 2006
I've been wrestling with an issue for quite a while, and would appreciate commentary or citation to relevant sources. Here's my thinking:
A public school student whose speech and associational rights have been violated has a cause of action against the offending school officials, since they are state actors and thus must obey the Constitution. School officials at private schools are not subject to constitutional restraints.
Yet in almost every private-school student handbook, school officials promise students equal treatment when it comes to matters of free speech. When school officials break that promise, is there any cause of action? (I'm not looking for causes of action under Title VI, or related anti-discrimination laws.)
What I'm wondering is whether a student whose free speech and associational rights (as defined and promised by the school), can sue, alleging that the school, by not providing him the educational atomphere it promised him, has breached an implied educational contract.
I have zero understanding of this area of law and would love to hear your thoughts.