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COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA EX REL. SCHOOL DISTRICT PITTSBURGH v. EARL AND JANE RIXEY ROSS (01/03/75)

decided: January 3, 1975.

COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA EX REL. SCHOOL DISTRICT OF PITTSBURGH, APPELLANT,
v.
EARL AND JANE RIXEY ROSS, APPELLEES



Appeal from the Order of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County, in case of Commonwealth of Pennsylvania v. Earl and Jane Rixey Ross, No. SA 23 of 1973.

COUNSEL

Ronald F. Talarico, Assistant Solicitor, with him Justin M. Johnson, Solicitor, for appellant.

Earl C. Ross, Jr., in propria persona.

Judges Kramer, Mencer and Rogers, sitting as a panel of three. Opinion by Judge Rogers.

Author: Rogers

[ 17 Pa. Commw. Page 106]

The appellees, Earl Ross, Sr. and Jane Rixey Ross, his wife, were convicted by a district magistrate in summary proceedings of violating the compulsory school attendance law*fn1 by failing to send their two children to vocational training classes held at a school other than the one in which the children were enrolled. Their appeal was sustained by the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County. The School District of Pittsburgh has appealed the lower court's order.

On a day in June, 1972, the Ross children, sixth graders assigned to the Linden Elementary School of the School District of Pittsburgh, were, with classmates, transported by bus to the Arsenal Middle School to observe classes in vocational and technical training which they were scheduled to attend on a one-half day per week basis during the following school year. After the visit, one of the Ross children, Rosemary, reported to her parents that she was thrust against a corridor wall by Arsenal students running in the hallways. Earl Ross, Jr. complained of having been cut on the elbow with scissors by another boy. Both Earl, Jr. and Earl, Sr. reported the former's experience at Arsenal to the principal of the Linden Elementary School in June, 1972, and both testified below to their impression that the principal did not consider the incident to be worth much concern.

In September, 1972, Earl, Jr. and Rosemary enrolled as seventh graders at Linden. Mr. Ross wrote to the principal of Linden as follows:

[ 17 Pa. Commw. Page 107]

"Dear Miss Sumpter:

I am writing to inform you of my wishes concerning the program offered at Arsenal School. I do not permit my son, Earl Ross, and my daughter, Rosemary Rixey, to attend this school. They are both in the seventh grade. I know my son explained of his unpleasant experience when he visited the school last year. He also told me that you told him the conditions would be better this year. The fact is I do not want them bussed out of this school area. If Linden School cannot provide this program, then they will not be able to participate. They should be provided at the school which the child attends.

Sincerel ...


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