ERIC Number: ED244327
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1984
Reference Count: 0
Private Schools' Tax Exempt Status and Appliction of Section 1983.
Mawdsley, Ralph D.; Permuth, Steve
Section 1983 of the Civil Rights Act, providing for legal action to redress deprivation of constitutional rights by agencies of the state, has become a popular medium for remediation of alleged substantive and procedural wrongs by school officials. The success of Section 1983 actions against public schools has led to attempts to extend such actionable status to nonpublic schools. Two theories were proposed by which private action was deemed to constitute state action: state entanglement (predicated on state aid, regulation, and tax exemption of private schools) and the state function theory (whereby state action is present when private groups perform a governmental function). Both, however, were rejected by the court in "Rendell-Baker vs. Kohn," which defined state function narrowly as those functions traditionally held to be the exclusive prerogative of the state. In "Bob Jones University vs. United States," however, the court upheld denial of tax exemption to private educational institutions for racial discrimination in admissions, therefore implying an interdependence between government and private schools. But withholding a government benefit where fundamental public policy is at stake is not necessarily tantamount to attributing state function to the school. The greatest concern in applying Section 1983 to nonpublic schools is that it imposes the same substantive and procedural standards on public and private schools alike, thereby eviscerating the traditional concept of pluralism in American education. (TE)
Publication Type: Legal/Legislative/Regulatory Materials
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Bob Jones University v United States; Civil Rights Act 1871 Section 1983; Rendell Baker v Kohn
Note: In: Jones, Thomas N., Ed. and Semler, Darel P., Ed. School Law Update...Preventive School Law. p46-57. For complete document, see EA 016 748.