May an action alleging that the State’s teacher disciplinary rules and layoff provisions deprive students of a quality education survive motions to dismiss and be permitted to go to trial?

Yes. The Appellate Division, Second Department, on an appeal from a ruling from the Staten Island Supreme Court, has determined that an action can go forward that may test the constitutionality of the State’s disciplinary system and layoff provisions for teachers.

Mymoena Davids aka Mona Davids supported by groups opposed to teacher tenure laws brought an action against the State alleging that ineffective teachers could not be properly dismissed and layoff provisions protected ineffective teachers causing irreversible harm to her children. (A similar action was brought in Albany County and joined with Ms. Davids case in Richmond County.)

Justice Philip Minardo of the Richmond County Supreme Court ruled that, on a motion to dismiss, the plaintiffs case could go forward despite a motion to dismiss based upon the changed statutory scheme and other arguments.

The Appellate Division affirmed. The appellate justices ruled, without much argument, that it was too early to dismiss the case as the plaintiffs’ concerns could, if proven, make out a case that their constitutionally protected right of a sound basic education was jeopardized by the current statutory scheme. While not determining the ultimate issue that Appellate Court found that a trial court could determine that the tenure and layoff provisions for teachers interfered with this constitutional right.

Davids v. State, __AD3d__, (2d Dept., March 28, 2018)

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