Case Analysis 3: Honig v. Doe
March 15, 2011
Professor Sonya Shepherd, Educational Law
In the case of Honig v. Doe, it was the first case to reach the Supreme Court dealing with discipline of special education students. This case took place in 1988 after two students from the San Francisco School District with emotional disabilities and aggressive tendencies were threatened with expulsion. John Doe (a pseudonym) was a socially and physically awkward 17 year-old who had difficulty controlling his impulses and anger. From early on in school, physical abnormalities, speech difficulties, and poor grooming habits resulted in his being the target of classmates teasing and ridiculing him. One day, in response to taunts from a fellow student at a developmental center for disabled students, he reacted in an explosive manner anticipated by his individualized education (IEP). He choked a student with enough force to leave abrasions on the boy’s neck. Afterwards, while being taken to the principal’s office, John kicked out a window. John was suspended from school for 5 days. The principal recommended that he be expelled. A lawsuit was filed, and the federal district court issued a temporary order directing the school to return John to his then current educational placement. The other student in this case, Jack Smith, was identified as a disturbed child in the second grade. He had been physically and emotionally abused as a child. Despite above-average intelligence, he experienced social and academic problems due to him being extremely hyperactive and with low self-esteem. Smith was placed in several alternative schools, nut by the sixth grade he was placed back in a special education program in a regular middle school. Smith experienced many behavior problems including, stealing, extorting money from fellow students, and making sexual comments to fellow classmates; his educational program was reduced to half-days. After these happenings, Smith continued...