Session March 21, 2017
from the Chancery Court for Davidson County No. 151475III
Ellen H. Lyle, Chancellor
an appeal from the grant of Appellee's Tennessee Rule of
Civil Procedure 12.02(6) motion to dismiss Appellant's 42
U.S.C. §1983 claim for alleged violation of her
substantive and procedural due process rights to a public
education. Appellant was removed from her Algebra I class and
placed in a computer-based course. Because the right to a
public education does not include a particular course
placement or teaching method, Appellant's complaint fails
to state a claim for relief. Affirmed and remanded.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Judgment of the Chancery
Court Affirmed and Remanded
Armstrong, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which
J. Steven Stafford, P.J., W.S., and Brandon O. Gibson, J.,
joined. William Gary Blackburn and Bryant Beatty Kroll,
Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Toni Jones.
Melissa S. Roberge and Catherine J. Pham, Nashville,
Tennessee, for the appellee, Metropolitan Government of
Nashville and Davidson Co.
Richard L. Colbert and Nina M. Eiler, Nashville, Tennessee,
Amicus Curiae for Tennessee Education Association.
Toni Jones is a former student of Pearl-Cohn Comprehensive
High School, a magnet school operating within the
Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson
County's ("Metro, " or "Appellee")
public school system. During the 2013-2014 school year, Ms.
Jones was enrolled in Algebra I. While enrolled in Algebra I,
Ms. Jones was required to take practice tests known as
Discovery Education Assessments, which were administered as a
predictor of a student's performance on the final end of
course exam. The end of the course exam is used to measure
success within the individual Metro public schools. Ms. Jones
did poorly on the practice tests and, in the second semester
of the 2013-2014 school year, she was moved from the Algebra
I class to a "remedial credit recovery program, "
which was a computer-based course. The following school year,
Ms. Jones was placed in a Geometry class, which she failed.
December 7, 2015, Ms. Jones filed suit against Metro,
claiming violation of her procedural and substantive due
process rights. Ms. Jones' causes of action are based on
the following averments in her complaint:
11. . . . [Ms. Jones] was placed in a remedial "credit
recovery" program, and instructed to complete a
computer-based "A program" without any direct
instruction from an actual teacher, thus depriving her of the
education she was entitled to receive.
15. [Ms. Jones] had a constitutionally protected property
interest in her public education, of which she has been
deprived in an arbitrary and capricious manner. [Metro's]
actions also have unusually harsh consequences because [Ms.
Jones] was not promoted to the ...