United States District Court, D. Minnesota
B.L., by and through his Parent and Natural Guardian, Carole Lundell, Plaintiff,
Mahtomedi School District, ISD No. 832, Defendant.,
L. Jepsen, Esq., School Law Center, LLC, St. Paul, MN, on
behalf of Plaintiff.
Michael J. Waldspurger, Esq., and Elizabeth J. Vieira, Esq.,
Rupp, Anderson, Squires & Waldspurger, P.A., Minneapolis,
MN, on behalf of Defendant.
MEMORANDUM OPINION AND ORDER
MONTGOMERY U.S. DISTRICT JUDGE.
March 28, 2018, the undersigned United States District Judge
heard oral argument on Defendant Mahtomedi School District,
ISD No. 832's (the “District”) Motion for
Summary Judgment [Docket No. 29]. Plaintiff B.L., by and
through his Parent and Natural Guardian, Carole Lundell
(“B.L.”), opposes the Motion. For the reasons set
forth below, the District's Motion is granted.
March 20, 2017, B.L. was suspended for 10 days for possessing
and brandishing a BB-gun on school grounds. Larson Decl.
[Docket No. 13] Ex. B (“Hr'g Exs.”) at Ex. 4.
During this period of suspension, B.L. had access to his
schoolwork and many of his teachers met with him to discuss
his coursework. Larson Decl. Ex. A (“Hr'g
Tr.”) at 97. Additionally, the District assigned B.L.
an intervention specialist to assist him in completing his
assignments and to help him make better choices. Id.
March 27, 2017, the District informed B.L. that he was being
suspended for five additional days pending expulsion.
Hr'g Exs. at Ex. 6. The following day, B.L. received a
Notice of Proposed Expulsion, formally notifying B.L. that
the District proposed expelling him pursuant to the Pupil
Fair Dismissal Act (“PFDA”), Minn. Stat.
April 12, 2017, an expulsion hearing was held before Hearing
Officer Richard John Miller (the “Hearing
Officer”). The Hearing Officer heard testimony from
B.L., a school bus driver who observed B.L. brandishing the
BB-gun, a school resource officer and Washington County
deputy sheriff who spoke with B.L. about the incident, the
Mahtomedi High School principal and assistant principal, and
the District superintendent. See generally Hr'g
Tr. After the hearing, the Hearing Officer submitted his
recommendation to the School Board, which met the following
day to consider the recommendation. Larson Decl. ¶¶
7, 8. After deliberating for approximately 90 minutes, the
School Board adopted a resolution expelling B.L. from the
District for the remainder of the 2016-17 school year and for
the first semester of the 2017-18 school year. Id.
¶ 9; Ex. D.
appealed the School Board's expulsion decision to the
Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Education
(“MDE”). Vieira Decl. [Docket No. 32] ¶ 3.
On June 30, 2017, the MDE upheld the expulsion decision, but
decreased the length of the expulsion to the end of the
2016-17 school year and not to the first semester of the
2017-2018 school year. Id.
and the District appealed the MDE decision to the Minnesota
Court of Appeals. Id. ¶ 4. Pursuant to
Minnesota law, the MDE's decision was stayed pending the
outcome of the appeal, meaning that the School Board's
decision expelling B.L. through the 2016-17 school year and
the first semester of the 2017-18 school year remained in
effect. See Minn. Stat. § 121A.50. The first
semester of the 2017-18 school year ended on January 18,
2018. Id. ¶ 2. The Minnesota Court of Appeals
heard oral argument on the parties' appeal of the
MDE's ruling on February 22, 2018. The appeal is pending.
April 17, 2017, B.L. filed a Amended Complaint [Docket No. 6]
alleging that his property right to education was impaired by
the District's failure to provide the proper alternative
educational services prior to initiating the expulsion
proceeding. B.L. also alleges that his due process rights
were violated when the District's Superintendent