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Piphus v. Board of Education of City of Chicago

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division

January 31, 2014

WILLIAM PIPHUS, et al., Plaintiffs,


CHARLES R. NORGLE, District Judge.

Pro se Plaintiffs William and Joann Piphus (collectively, "Plaintiffs") sue the Board of Education of the City of Chicago (the "Chicago Board of Education"); Jean Claude Brizard, ("Brizard'), Chief Executive Officer of Chicago Public Schools; Jeff Wright ("Wright"), Principal at King College Preparatory High School; Leeandra Khan ("Khan"), Assistant Principal at King College Preparatory High School (collectively, "CPS Defendants"); and Rahm Emanuel (the "Mayor"), Mayor of the City of Chicago, on behalf of their minor daughter ("Pxx") for violations of the First, Fourth, Fifth, Eight and Fourteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution, 42 U.S.C. §§ 1981 and 1983, and for various Illinois state-law violations, including, intentional and or negligent infliction of emotional distress, negligence, false arrest, failure to implement policy, customs and practices, and civil conspiracy. Before the Court is the Mayor's motion to dismiss pursuant to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 12(b)(6). Also before the Court is Plaintiffs' pleading titled, "Plaintiffs Motion of Good Cause." For the following reasons, Plaintiffs' motion is denied, and the Mayor's motion is granted.


Plaintiffs' daughter, Pxx, was arrested by Chicago police officers at King College Preparatory High School on March 27, 2012. The day before, on March 26, 2012, Khan, Assistant Principal at King College Preparatory High School, called Plaintiffs to notify them about two issues: (1) images on Pxx's social media page, Twitter, which school administration perceived as pornographic; and (2) potential charges against Pxx for assault and battery of a Leo High School student. Plaintiffs met with Khan in her office at which time she showed Plaintiffs their daughter's Twitter page, depicting Pxx wearing what school administration believed were "yellow panties" with the caption "chubby Baby" and "Kiss my pink Box." Compl. ¶¶ 18-20. Plaintiffs explained that their daughter was wearing "not "pants, " not "panties" in the photograph, id. ¶ 18; and, that "Chubby Baby" was a family nickname, id. ¶ 20. Following this meeting, Plaintiffs asked to see their daughter and learned that Pxx was being interrogated by two police officers without the presence of a Chicago school staff member.

Khan took Plaintiffs to the police officers' assigned office within the school. pxx was sitting outside of the office. An officer explained that a minor and her parents wanted to press criminal charges against Pxx. The officer brought all of the parties into the office at which time the minor claimed that while she was hit and kicked at a Leo High School party in the school's gymnasium, she looked up and saw Pxx's face. The officer also explained that pxx was being charged because on her Twitter page she stated that "we beat that girl good, " and had pictures of blood from the Leo High School gymnasium floor. The officer, however, did not arrest pxx on March 26, 2012. Instead, he instructed Plaintiffs to bring Pxx back to school the next day to be charged and arrested.

Plaintiffs then spoke to Wright, and asked whether Pxx would be suspended. Wright stated that he would write it up and get back to them, noting that it would possibly be a level 3 or 5 violation of school policy. Plaintiffs informed Wright of the arrest, to which Wright responded that "once it becomes a police matter, we have nothing to do with it." Id . ¶ 36. Plaintiffs also allege that the same response was given by Mr. Wagner when they called Chicago Public School Safety and Security. Plaintiffs then called Chicago Public School Headquarters and were referred back to Mr. Wagner.

On March 27, 2012, Plaintiff William Piphus again asked Wright about Pxx's suspension, but Wright had no further information. At 11:00 a.m., Plaintiffs brought Pxx to the school. Upon entering the school, Plaintiffs ran into Khan and asked her about the suspension, and were told that Pxx would not be suspended. School personnel sent Plaintiffs and Pxx to the police officers' office inside the school, where Pxx was handcuffed and then transported by another set of police officers to the Juvenile Intervention and Support Center. Pxx was charged with battery.

On March 28, 2012, neither Wright, nor the Chicago Board of Education responded to Plaintiffs about the incident, which they claim was against the law and carried out without due process. Shortly thereafter, Wright sent a letter to the King College Preparatory High School community stating that he was resigning and taking a new position in Wisconsin.

From March 27, 2012 to present, Plaintiffs have sought the following information from the Chicago Board of Education and the Chicago Public School Safety and Security staff: (l) the established procedures used when a person comes into a school, seeking to press charges against a student for alleged illegal acts committed off campus; (2) whether King College Preparatory High School is a police station or a school; (3) the written report of the incident regarding Pxx; (4) whether Chicago Public School Safety and Security or the Chicago Police Department is in charge of safety and security in Chicago public schools; and (5) how the school could allow police officers to remove Pxx from a classroom without notifying the parents and without Chicago Public School personnel being present during the interrogation. Plaintiffs further allege that there is a double standard at King College Preparatory High School because a police officer's son who instigated a fight was not disciplined by the Chicago Board of Education.

Plaintiffs initiated the instant lawsuit against the CPS Defendants and the Mayor on September 11, 2012, alleging violations of the United States Constitution, federal laws, and Illinois state-laws. The individual officers are not parties to this lawsuit. However, Plaintiffs have sued the officers separately in a lawsuit that remains pending in this District. Piphus v. City of Chi. Police Dep't., No. 12 C 7259 (filed N.D.Ill. Sept. 11, 2012). The Mayor's motion to dismiss is fully briefed and before the Court. Also before the Court is Plaintiffs' pleading titled, "Plaintiffs Motion of Good Cause."


A. Standard of Decision

To survive a motion to dismiss under Rule 12(b)(6), a complaint must allege "enough facts to state a claim to relief that is plausible on its face." Bell Atl. Corp. v. Twombly , 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2007). That is, a plaintiff's complaint "must "actually suggest that the plaintiff has a right to relief by providing allegations that raise a right to relief above the speculative level." Indep. Trust Corp. v. Stewart Info. Servs. Corp. , 665 F.3d 930, 935 (7th Cir. 2012) (internal quotation marks and citation omitted). The Court construes Plaintiffs' pro se pleadings liberally, see Pearle Vision. Inc. v. Romm , 541 F.3d 751, 758 (7th Cir. 2008), accepts as true all well-pleaded facts in the Complaint, and draws all reasonable inferences in their favor, D.B. ex rel. Kurtis B. v. Kopp , 725 F.3d 681, 682 (7th Cir. 2013) (citing McReynolds v. Merrill Lynch & Co. , 694 F.3d 873, 879 (7th Cir. 2012)). A plaintiff, however, may plead himself out of court by"pleading facts that establish an impenetrable defense to its claims." Tamayo v. Blagojevich , 526 F.3d 1074, 1086 (7th Cir. 2008) (citing Massey v. Merrill Lynch & Co. , 464 F.3d 642, 65A (7th Cir. 2006)); see also Atkins v. City of Chi. , 631 F.3d 823, 832 (7th Cir. 2011) ("[A plaintiff] can plead himself out of court by pleading facts that show he has no legal claim." (citations omitted)). Pleadings consist of "the complaint, any exhibits attached thereto, and the supporting briefs." Cole v. Milwaukee Area Technical Coll. Dist. , 64 F.3d ...

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