Abusive Truancy Policy in Lebanon, PA


Law Center Files Response to District’s Motion for Summary Judgment

The Law Center has filed a response to Lebanon School District’s motion for summary judgment. In its motion, the District argued that it cannot be held responsible for paying back fines because it was the courts, and no the District, that set them; that claims are time barred and therefore cannot be made on old citations; and that the PA NAACP is not a legitimate plaintiff in the case. In its response, the Law Center has noted that a summary judgment is only appropriate if the defendant proves “the absence of a genuine issue of material fact”, which the District has not done.

Contrary to what the District claims, there is evidence and testimony to support that the District played a role in the imposition and reduction of excessive truancy fines. In fact, the District filled out the amount of the fine on truancy slips until October 7, 2009. They were also quoted in court as saying “the District sets the fines according to the law.” These facts, along with many other testimonies and evidence, provide the material fact needed to dismiss the motion for summary judgment.

The District also argues that the plaintiffs’ claims are not valid because they were brought more than 30 days after the fines were assessed. However, plaintiffs are not challenging their convictions; they are challenging the fact that the District later reduced excessive fees for those who had not already paid, but refused to refund those who had. Therefore, the deadline imposed does not apply to this case.

Finally, the District claims that the NAACP does not have standing. However, this too is untrue because one of the NAACP’s members was fined excessive truancy fees, and because the organization itself has devoted time and resources in assisting parents with their excessive truancy fines.