Dixon v. Ala. State Bd. of Educ.

294 F.2d 150 (5th Cir. 1961)

 

RULE:

Whenever a governmental body acts so as to injure an individual, the Constitution requires that the act be consonant with due process of law. The minimum procedural requirements necessary to satisfy due process depend upon the circumstances and the interests of the parties involved.

FACTS:

Plaintiff students were expelled by defendant principal after they stood outside a lunch grill where they were refused service and ordered out, even though evidence did not affirmatively show that all plaintiffs, who were black, were present at any other demonstration. The Board of Education and the trial court upheld the expulsion. The court reversed and remanded, holding that there was no statute or rule that required formal charges and/or a hearing, but the evidence was without dispute that the usual practice at the college was to give a hearing and opportunity to offer defenses before expelling a student. 

ISSUE:

Does due process require notice and some opportunity for hearing before students at a tax-supported college are expelled for misconduct?

ANSWER:

Yes.

CONCLUSION:

The court reversed the judgment against plaintiff students and remanded because defendant principal gave no notice, no statement of specific charges or grounds for their expulsion after they were present at one demonstration, and no other rudimentary element of fair play or due process, before he expelled them.

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