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Law School Case Brief

Ind. ex rel. Anderson v. Brand - 303 U.S. 95, 58 S. Ct. 443 (1938)


Under the Teachers' Tenure Act, Act of March 8, 1927, Ind. Code Ann. § 6967.1 (1929), a teacher who has served under contract for five or more successive years, and thereafter enters into a contract for further service with the school corporation, shall become a permanent teacher, and the contract, upon the expiration of its stated term, shall be deemed to continue in effect for an indefinite period, shall be known as an indefinite contract, and shall remain in force unless succeeded by a new contract or cancelled as provided in the Act. The corporation may cancel the contract, after notice and hearing, for incompetency, insubordination, neglect of duty, immorality, justifiable decrease in the number of teaching positions, or other good or just cause, but not for political or personal reasons. The teacher may not cancel the contract during the school term, nor for a period of 30 days previous to the beginning of any term (unless by mutual agreement), and may cancel only upon 5 days' notice.


A public school teacher sought a writ of mandate to compel a school trustee to continue her employment, alleging that her contract to teach in township schools incorporated the terms of the Teachers' Tenure Act (Act), Act of March 8, 1927, Ind. Code Ann. § 6967.1 (1929). The trustee demurred on the ground that the Act had been repealed as to teachers in township schools, and the demurrer was sustained. The state supreme court affirmed. 


Did the teacher have a valid contract with the school that was impaired by the termination of her employment?




The United States Supreme Court explained that the employment of school teachers in Indiana was contractual and that the Act provided that a teacher who served under contract five or more successive years and thereafter had a contract for further service became a permanent teacher with an indefinite contract which could only be cancelled for enumerated reasons or just cause. The court held that the teacher had a valid contract that was impaired by the termination of her employment and further ruled that the repeal of the Act was not an exercise of the state's police power.

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