Henry County Board of Education v. S.G.
On May 1, 2017, the ACLU of Georgia and the American Civil Liberties Union filed an amicus brief in Henry County Board of Education v. S.G., in support of Plaintiff “S.G.” S.G. is a high school student who was provoked into fighting a classmate on school grounds and defended herself under Georgia law. The Henry County Board of Education expelled S.G. from school for fighting on school grounds without giving her the opportunity to assert a defense for her actions.
The State Board of Education agreed with the school’s determination, but the Superior Court reversed, finding that S.G. was justified in using force because she acted in self-defense. The Court of Appeals affirmed the lower court’s decision because the school board did not properly apply self-defense standards when expelling S.G. for fighting on school grounds.
Henry County Board of Education has petitioned the Supreme Court of Georgia to overturn the Court of Appeals decision so that S.B., and other students who are defending themselves in school, would not have the option of claiming self-defense when they are provoked.
The ACLU of Georgia supports S.G. because children, especially children of color, in Georgia public schools are at risk of losing their constitutional right to education because of the rote application of zero tolerance policies. These policies deprive students of a meaningful disciplinary hearing in violation of their constitutional right to due process. Children must be allowed to exercise their right to raise affirmative defenses in their disciplinary hearings to protect their right to education.
The other organizations that signed onto the ACLU’s amicus brief in support of S.G. include Gwinnett SToPP and the Georgia Chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
May 1, 2017