Case: Matter of North Syracuse Cent. School Dist. v New York State Div. of Human Rights

09-07473 | New York state trial court

Filed Date: 2009

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

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 legislat…

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.

Summary Authors

Joshua Arocho (7/27/2012)

People


Judge(s)

Ciparick, Carmen Beauchamp (New York)

Pigott, Eugene F. Jr. (New York)

Stein, Sidney H. (New York)

Other Attorney(s)

Active

Active

Judge(s)

Ciparick, Carmen Beauchamp (New York)

Pigott, Eugene F. Jr. (New York)

Stein, Sidney H. (New York)

Other Attorney(s)

Gorenberg, Hayley J. (New York)

Ude, Thomas W. Jr. (New York)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

09-7473

[Untitled]

North Syracuse Central School District v. The New York State Division of Human Rights

New York state appellate court

April 1, 2011

April 1, 2011

Order/Opinion

09-07473

[Untitled]

North Syracuse Central School District v. The New York State Division of Human Rights

New York state appellate court

June 30, 2011

June 30, 2011

Order/Opinion

CA 10-02171

Brief of Amici Curiae

North Syracuse Central School District v. The New York State Division of Human Rights

New York state supreme court

Oct. 19, 2011

Oct. 19, 2011

Pleading / Motion / Brief

CA 10-02171

[Untitled]

In re: North Syracuse Central School District

New York state supreme court

June 12, 2012

June 12, 2012

Order/Opinion

Sharply Divided New York Court of Appeals Rules Human Rights Law Does Not Apply to Student Discrimination Claims Against Public Schools

North Syracuse Central School District v. The New York State Division of Human Rights

No Court

June 12, 2012

June 12, 2012

Press Release

Resources

Docket

Last updated Aug. 20, 2022, 3:01 a.m.

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

Case Details

State / Territory: New York

Case Type(s):

Education

Key Dates

Filing Date: 2009

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Students in New York public schools who were subjected to discrimination and harassment.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Attorney Organizations:

Lambda Legal

Public Interest Lawyer: Unknown

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Outcome: Unknown

Defendants

The New York State Division of Human Rights, State

Defendant Type(s):

Elementary/Secondary School

Case Details

Causes of Action:

State law

Availably Documents:

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Defendant

Nature of Relief:

None

Source of Relief:

None

Issues

Type of Facility:

Government-run