Filed Date: 2009
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This case was filed in the Supreme Court of New York in the late 2000s on behalf of students in public schools who were subjected to discrimination and harassment. They claimed that under New York's Human Rights Law (Executive Law § 290, et seq.), it was the schools' responsibility to stop this discrimination.
The defendants, two New York school districts, claimed that because they were public schools, as opposed to private, non-secular schools, they did not fall within the scope of the legislation.
After a series of rulings by the lower courts, on June 12, 2012, the New York Court of Appeals (Judge Eugene F. Piggott, Jr.) ruled that because the language in the Human Rights Law was modeled after the Real Property Tax Law of 1896 (which only covered private, non-secular schools), the legislature must have meant that the Human Rights Law should not apply to public schools. Judge Piggott noted that his "holding is not to be interpreted as indifference to [the Plaintiffs'] plight, since the merits of their underlying discrimination claims are not at issue on these appeals. Nor does our holding leave public school students without a remedy. In addition to potential remedies under federal law, public school students may file a complaint with the Commissioner of Education." Matter of North Syracuse Cent. School Dist. v New York State Div. of Human Rights, 2012 WL 2092954 (N.Y. June 12, 2012).
In a bitter dissent, Judge Carmen Ciparick argued that the New York constitution equal protection clause prohibits public and private discrimination, and that the Human Rights Law should be liberally construed to include public schools. She noted that while victims of race discrimination have an adequate remedy through federal law, this holding was a particularly strong blow to the LGBT community, which is only afforded remedy through state law.
As of this writing, the Plaintiffs have yet to petition the Supreme Court of the United States for certiorari.
Joshua Arocho (7/27/2012)
Ciparick, Carmen Beauchamp (New York)
Pigott, Eugene F. Jr. (New York)
Stein, Sidney H. (New York)
Gorenberg, Hayley J. (New York)
Ude, Thomas W. Jr. (New York)
Last updated July 24, 2023, 3:16 a.m.Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.
State / Territory: New York
Filing Date: 2009
Case Ongoing: No
Students in New York public schools who were subjected to discrimination and harassment.
Public Interest Lawyer: Unknown
Filed Pro Se: No
Class Action Outcome: Unknown
Causes of Action:
Prevailing Party: Defendant
Nature of Relief:
Source of Relief:
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