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Bryant v. Board of Education

April 9, 2008

EARNEST A. BRYANT, INDIVIDUALLY AND AS PARENT OF MINOR CHORI BRYANT, PLAINTIFFS,
v.
BOARD OF EDUCATION, DISTRICT 228; OAK FOREST HIGH SCHOOL, DAVID WILSON, DAVID CORBIN, DR. RICHARD MITCHELL, AND KEVIN DONEGAN, DEFENDANTS.



The opinion of the court was delivered by: Charles P. Kocoras, District Judge

MEMORANDUM OPINION

This matter comes before the court on the motions of Defendant Dr. Richard Mitchell ("Mitchell"), the Board of Education of Bremen High School District 228 (the "Board of Education"), Dr. David Wilson ("Wilson"), Dr. David Corbin ("Corbin"), and Kevin Donegan ("Donegan") for summary judgment pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 56. For the reasons set forth below, the Defendants' motions are granted.

BACKGROUND

The following material undisputed facts have been taken from only those portions of the parties statements of material facts that conform with Local Rule 56.1.

See Brasic v. Heinemann's Inc., 121 F.3d 281, 282, 284 (7th Cir. 1997). We have disregarded the following submissions as inappropriate under L.R. 56.1: Plaintiff's statements that are not properly supported by the record, that reference affidavits that conflict with deposition testimony, and that are based on inadmissible hearsay. See Russell v. ACME Evans Co., 51 F.3d 64, 67-68 (7th Cir. 1995); see also Bombard v. Fort Wayne Newspapers, Inc., 92 F.3d 560, 562 (7th Cir. 1996).

Chori Bryant ("Chori") and his father Earnest Bryant ("Bryant") are African American. Chori is currently a senior at Oak Forest High School ("Oak Forest") in Oak Forest, Illinois; he started as a freshman at the beginning of the 2004-05 school year.

In September 2004, Chori received a disciplinary referral for wearing his pants too low in violation of Oak Forest's dress code. He does not know if there are any other Oak Forest students who also received disciplinary referrals for wearing their pants too low. Chori received another disciplinary referral in October 2004 for failing to follow a District 228 Physical Education Supervisor's instructions to leave an area where two other Oak Forest students were fighting. The Caucasian Oak Forest students who were involved in the incident were also disciplined.

Concerned about the number of disciplinary referrals his son had received, Bryant attempted to contact Wilson in October 2004. However, Wilson never spoke with Bryant. Instead, Bryant spoke with Donegan, the Dean of Students at Oak Forest, about Chori's referrals.

Donegan told Bryant and Chori that the number of disciplinary referrals Chori received during his freshman year put him at risk of being placed on disciplinary probation. As someone on disciplinary probation, Chori was informed that if he received more than eight referrals, the ninth referral would result in a suspension and a possible recommendation for RISE, an alternative school. During the 2005-06 school year, twelve Caucasian Oak Forest students were also placed on disciplinary probation with a possible recommendation for RISE.

During the end of Chori's sophomore year, he and his father moved outside of District 228. Soon thereafter, Oak Forest sent Bryant a letter telling him that while Chori would be allowed to finish the school year at Oak Forest, he would not be allowed to register for the following school year unless he lived within District 228. Consequently, Bryant was not allowed to enroll Chori at Oak Forest on August 28, 2006.

Bryant met with Wilson to discuss his inability to register Chori for the 2006-07 school year. At the time, Bryant claimed that he lived within District 228. When Wilson asked Bryant to verify his address with a phone bill, Bryant provided Wilson with a fraudulent phone bill for an address in which he had never lived. Bryant also gave Wilson a fraudulent lease as proof of his residency within District 228. Oak Forest later determined that, like the phone bill, the lease did not reflect the Bryants' true residential address.

Corbin, a District 228 Director of Educational Support Services, has conducted about 30 residency investigations in the past on both Caucasian and African American students in District 228. In the Spring of 2006, Corbin headed a residency investigation on the Bryants. While the residency investigation was pending, Bryant spoke with Mitchell, the superintendent of District 228, to see if Chori would be allowed to play football for Oak Forest during the investigation. Bryant explained that he wanted to pay out-of-district tuition so that Chori could attend and play football for Oak Forest. Mitchell told Bryant that Illinois High School Association ("IHSA") rules prevented non-residents from playing football in IHSA games.*fn1 Subsequently, the parties agreed that while the residency investigation continued, Chori would be allowed to practice with Oak Forest's football team but not be allowed to play in IHSA games. Bryant later moved into District 228 and Chori was thereafter allowed to play on Oak Forest's football team.

Chori alleges that Defendants' actions violated his rights under the Equal Protection Clause, 42 U.S.C. ยง 1983, and under Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. 2000(d). He also alleges that Defendants' actions caused him to ...


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