Honig vs Doe

I. Case Background

The case was originally known as Doe v Maher and was first tried in October of 1986. The case was appealed before the Supreme Court in November of 1987 and was then renamed Honig v Doe. (Yell)
Honig refers to the California Superintendent of Public Instruction; and, Doe and Smith are fictional names used to protect the privacy of the plaintiffs in the case. The case was argued November of 1987 with a decision presented in January of 1988.(FindLaw)
The case deals with the suspension of students with disabilities based on misbehavior that is consistent with a manifestation of his/her disabilities. Two California students with disabilities (Doe and Smith) were both suspended for 5 days after committing offenses at their respective schools. Both suspensions were later extended indefinitely when the students were recommended to be expelled (according to California state law). (Yell)

II. Issues in the Case

In attempt to ensure that any state receiving funding federal monies (California being one such state) "will provide a 'free appropriate public education' for all disabled children" the Education of the Handicapped Act (EHA), also known as P.L. 94-142, provides specific guidelines that must be adhered to. Included in these guidelines are steps to allow for "meaningful parental participation in all aspects of a child's educational placement". (Justia) The major issue presented by Honig v Doe was:
  1. The "stay-put" provision of EHA (Yell)
  • The "stay-put" provision of the EHA essentially prohibits the removal from or the refusal of admission of any student with a disability from the classroom as the result of a one-sided decision made by state or local authorities. (Justia) It was argued that in case of both Doe and Smith the stay-put provision was violated when the students were suspended indefinitely for misbehavior. Regarding Smith, the lawyers argued that the stay-put provision was also violated was his placement was reduced to half-day. (Yell)
  • The petitioner (Honig) contended that the stay-put provision was not to be taken is the literal sense as was done by the Appeals Court in 1986; but that there should be some some of "dangerous behavior exception" as was done for a number of similar previous cases. (Yell)

III. Outcome of the Case

The out of the case was that schools (and local and state officials) did not have the authority to unilaterally exclude students with disabilities from the classroom. There was one significant difference however, the Supreme Court rejected the "dangerousness exception" to the "stay-put" provision. (Yell) The Supreme Court cited exclusion as "a change in placement" expounding that "schools may not unilaterally change a handicapped child's placement, regardless of the degree of danger presented by the student." (Yell) In other words, while a case involving misbehavior is being heard for a student with disabilities, that student cannot be excluded from the classroom; he/she must STAY PUT.

Works Cited

  • Mitchell Yell Honig v Doe: The Suspension and Expulsion of Handicapped Students:
http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_hb3130/is_n1_v56/ai_n28585141/pg_2/

  • FindLaw U.S. Supreme Court HONIG v. DOE, 484 U.S. 305 (1988) 484 U.S. 305 HONIG, CALIFORNIA SUPERINTENDENT OF PUBLIC INSTRUCTION v. DOE ET AL. CERTIORARI TO THE UNITED STATES COURT OF APPEALS FOR THE NINTH CIRCUIT:
http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?navby=search&court=US&case=/us/484/305.html

  • HONIG V. DOE, 484 U. S. 305 (1988)
http://supreme.justia.com/us/484/305/