Campbell v. Brentwood Union Free School District

Civil Rights

New York Law Journal


Judge Leonard Wexler

Campbell was at Sonderlings High School's discipline office when he was attacked by fellow student Raven McNeil and her father Willie who, among other things, choked Campbell. Police responded. Campbell signed an arrest form. When Campbell's mother, Brown, arrived, the school's principal commented that Willie was not lawfully on school grounds and should have been arrested. In prior visits, Brown alerted Sonderlings' principal, assistant principals and a teacher to her concerns about Raven. The school defendants' failure to take action allegedly condoned Raven's violent actions. Discussing the U.S. Supreme Court's 1989 ruling in DeShaney v. Winnebago County Dept. of Social Services, district court dismissed Campbell's 42 USC §1983 action asserting the school defendants' violation of his due process right to be free from harm by not properly protecting him from attack. Campbell's status as a student did not put him in state custody during the attack, foreclosing reliance on the "special relationship" exception to DeShaney. Campbell provided no plausible claim that the state actors actively participated, within the meaning of DeShaney, in the attack and he stated no due process violation.

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