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GIRARD SCHOOL DISTRICT ET AL. v. JOHN C. PITTENGER (10/05/78)

decided: October 5, 1978.

GIRARD SCHOOL DISTRICT ET AL.
v.
JOHN C. PITTENGER, SECRETARY OF EDUCATION, AND THE STATE BOARD OF EDUCATION, ET AL., APPELLANTS



No. 73 May Term, 1977, Appeal from the Decree of the Commonwealth Court, dated March 9, 1977, at No. 1475 Commonwealth Docket 1975.

COUNSEL

Robert P. Kane, Atty. Gen., J. Justin Blewitt, Jr., Edward A. Miller, Deputy Attys. Gen., Dept. of Justice, for appellants.

Reed B. Day, Washington, for appellees.

Michael I. Levin, William Fearen, Harrisburg, for amicus, Pa. School Boards Ass'n.

Steven S. Goldberg, Philadelphia, for amicus, Parents Union for Public Schools in Philadelphia.

Eagen, C. J., and O'Brien, Roberts, Pomeroy, Nix, Manderino and Packel, JJ. Packel, J., did not participate in the consideration or decision of this case.

Author: Pomeroy

[ 481 Pa. Page 92]

OPINION OF THE COURT

This appeal requires us to determine whether certain regulations adopted by the Pennsylvania State Board of Education (herein "State Board" or "Board") pertaining to student conduct and discipline are void and unenforceable for want of authority in the State Board to adopt them. The Commonwealth Court held that the State Board lacked authority and gave judgment for the plaintiff School Districts, appellees here. We, on the contrary, are convinced that ample authority for the action of the Board is to be found in the Administrative Code of 1929 (herein "Administrative Code"),*fn1 and therefore reverse the decree entered below.

[ 481 Pa. Page 93]

The challenged regulations, entitled "Student Rights and Responsibilities," were adopted and published by the State Board in 1974.*fn2 They treat of a wide range of diverse subjects, including corporal punishment, suspension and expulsion from school, flag salute and permissibility of regulations governing hair and dress.*fn3 The initial draft of the statement was made by a student advisory board (an adjunct of the State Board) and was widely distributed within the educational community for comment. Final approval by the State Board followed public hearings. The present suit in equity was brought by twenty-nine local school districts and three taxpayers*fn4 seeking declaratory and injunctive relief, which was ultimately granted by the Commonwealth

[ 481 Pa. Page 94]

Court.*fn5 This appeal by the State Board and the concerned state ...


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