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S.A. by H.O. v. Pittsburgh Public School District (PA Commonwealth Court, 2017)

This case affirms the limits of the weapons possession statute, commonly referred to as “Act 26.” The Court agreed with the Education Law Center’s attorneys who argued that Pennsylvania law limits the scope of the definition to objects that are similar or comparable to the expressly-listed weapons, including guns and knives. School districts will no longer be able to use Act 26 to discipline students for misbehavior unrelated to the possession of a weapon. This case is particularly poignant, given the national, state and local data showing that expulsions are disproportionally used for Black and brown students, even though there is no evidence that these differences are due to different types or rates of behavior than white students.

Read the news release, ELC’s Act 26 Factsheet, and our Act 26 Law Reform Alert and Analysis.

Key Court Documents:

Commonwealth Court Opinion (5/1/2017)

ELC’s Commonwealth Court Brief (2/15/2017)

Common Pleas Court Ruling (Memo andOrder of Court) (8/29/2016)

ELC’s Common Pleas Brief

ELC’s Common Pleas Motion for Supersedeas