Judge upholds BPS residency requirements in case involving Virginia doctors who really want their kid to go to Boston Latin

A federal judge ruled yesterday there is nothing wrong with the residency requirements set by Boston Public Schools and that BPS was within its rights to rescind a boy's acceptance to Boston Latin School because his parents were unable to prove the family actually lived in Boston.

The ruling, by US District Court Judge Denise Casper, does not dismiss the lawsuit by the parents of "Student Doe" against BPS, although she expressed strong doubts they could ultimately prevail. However, her ruling, which comes after two state courts rejected a similar appeal, means their son will not be able to go to BLS while they argue the case.

Casper wrote that while the parents believe their son deserves "the best education possible" so that he may become "[a] productive, contributing member of society" and that BLS is the best school to provide that education, that belief is outweighed by Boston's desire to prevent "residency fraud, misuse of taxpayer dollars, and usurpation of the limited available school seating for actual Boston residents:"

In light of BPS’s strong interest in preserving its limited resources for students who actually reside in Boston and given that Doe has not established a substantial likelihood of success on the merits, the Court declines to impose the extraordinary form of relief that Doe has requested.

The case involves two doctors from northern Virginia - an internist and a nephrologist - whose son last year took and passed the ISEE test required for BLS acceptance, and who was originally scheduled to start BLS in September.

But BPS withdrew his BLS acceptance because the address his mother initially used to prove residency turned out to be an office on Canal Street and that she was unable to show she and her son actually had a legal address in Boston.

The parents argued they had an agreement to buy a $1-million home in West Roxbury, but that the deal fell through and that the mother and son had been living in various Boston hotels or staying with friends and relatives in the Boston area. In one filing, the mother included a photo of herself and her son outside the Inn at Longwood Medical, a couple blocks away from BLS, where she said she had signed a year-long lease in September.

Casper addressed both the residency evidence and the question of whether BPS was violating the boy's constitutional rights.

At best, the affidavits and supporting evidence suggest that Mother Roe was interested in making Boston her residence (and, by extension, Doe’s residence). Moreover, none of the proffered evidence is consistent with Mother Roe’s assertion that she and Doe resided at the Canal Street address, as claimed in the BPS residency verification forms. Without more, the Court does not agree that Doe was a bona fide resident of Boston entitled to attend a BPS school when Mother Roe submitted the residency verification paperwork in November 2017, when BPS rescinded Doe’s admission to BLS in June 2018, or even now.

She continued:

Even assuming arguendo that Doe had shown that he was a resident of Boston, the Court concludes that Doe received all the process that he was due under the Fourteenth Amendment.

She noted BPS had conducted reviews of the parents' appeal even though they filed it long after the ten-day period BPS had set for one, and even though the Supreme Court has ruled such detailed review is not required.

Doe's father also argued that BPS's residency requirement violates the federal constitution by imposing a constraint on people's freedom to move from one state to the other.

Casper wrote, however, that the Supreme Court case the father cited noted that governments could set "bona fide residence requirements" and that BPS's definition of residency as "the place where a person dwells permanently, not temporarily" and where a person's "domestic, social, and civic life" is focused meets that criterion.

Casper similarly rejected the parents' claim that BPS's decision to revoke their son's acceptance violated a federal law aimed at ensuring homeless children can get an education.

Doe has neither alleged that he applied to BPS as a homeless student nor that BPS was otherwise aware of his purported homelessness prior to the institution of this lawsuit. However, even assuming that Doe followed the procedures for homeless students set forth in BPS's residency policy, it is unlikely that he qualifies as homeless under the McKinney-Vento Act. ...

[T]he Court concludes that Doe does not fall within the McKinney-Vento Act's definition of homeless where there apparently were fixed, regular and adequate nighttime residences available to him during the relevant time period. For example, the record indicates that Doe's paternal uncle resides in Easton, Massachusetts, that Doe receives mail at this address, and that Mother Roe chose to stay in hotels and with friends while waiting for the resolution of a case in Massachusetts Land Court concerning the house she was attempting to purchase. On this record, Doe is unlikely to succeed on the merits of his claim pursuant to the McKinney-Vento Act.

Casper added that the suit fails to show the "irreparable harm" that would be required for an immediate injunction:

The Court does not doubt that Doe will be impacted by the inability to attend BLS, an elite public school, this year. Doe’s claim, however, that he will be irreparably harmed is undermined, at minimum, by the facts that Doe was homeschooled prior to applying to BLS and there is no indication that the choice of continued homeschooling will have a negative impact on Doe’s educational opportunities, and that there is no indication that Doe cannot attend a public school wherever he actually resides.

Free tagging: 

Ad:

Comments

Good!

There's more applications than seats- this kid can cope like the rest of the kids who apply and don't get in.

I'm sure there are more than a few people who exploit residency rules same as with BPS in general and charter schools, but the residency requirements should be preserved as well as possible. This case would have weakened them.

up
76

So some rich doctors from

By on

So some rich doctors from Northern Virginia are trying to say their son is homeless as they live in Bougie hotels awaiting their $1 million home

Assholes

up
136

At that rate

By on

It'd be cheaper to sign a lease just over the Boston border in Brookline and let the kid go to school there, straight through.

up
23

As doctors

As doctors they understand the risks of putting their child in close proximity to children with blue blood.

up
13

Oddly..

By on

From one of the attached docs:

Most notably, both Mother and Father have admitted that they did not reside in Boston during the relevant time period and instead reside in Brookline, Massachusetts. See Exhibit 13, P.9: 17-22 and P.10: 16-25.

Curious

I'm curious as to the rationale for shielding the family's identity.

up
10

That's how the suit was filed

By on

In his complaint, the father said he filed it for his son as "Student Doe" because court records are public and:

The interest of vulnerable minor child Student Doe however would be harmed by publication on the Internet of his name for the rest of his life.

Now, I am not a lawyer, but I read a lot of legal filings, and so I'm kind of amazed that two doctors, both specialists (in addition to being an internist, the father specializes in sleep medicine), either couldn't or wouldn't hire a lawyer to take on the case, rather than filing pro se. Among other things, I suspect a lawyer would have been better able to hide their actual identities, even aside from BPS naming the parents in its answer to the complaint.

up
18

Now, I'm not a journalist

but I read a lot of a crap on the internet, and a little poking around makes it appear His Nibs is a bit lawsuit-happy, having also sued the Virginia Board of Medicine (following a finding by said board that the man had violated the law in that state), and the Federal Department of Revenue (following a finding that he had underpaid his taxes), in both cases representing himself and in both cases trying to file under a pseudonym.

Is there a name for the syndrome whereby people who are wicked smart think that means they can do not just the thing they trained for but everything better than other people?

up
22

WABAC Machine

Climb in to return to the exciting days of Linus Pauling. The chemist who also got a Nobel Peace Prize decided he was an expert on many things for which he had no training or knowledge. For two, he suddenly knew the mysterious powers of Vitamin C, claiming quack cures, and he wanted a form of eugenics that included forehead tattoos for some genetic defect carriers to ID them and keep them from breeding. As Pope wrote, "A little learning is a dangerous thing..."

Wow

A couple of entitled a-holes. I give them credit for wanting what's best for their kid ,but come on.

up
39

Is it what's best for their kid though?

By on

The research shows that kids from wealthy educated families do well pretty much no matter where they go to school.

So given that, I would say that the best thing to do for this kid would be not teaching your child to be an entitled asshole and not teaching that you should use the court system to get your own way in situations where there's not actually discrimination or harm happening. Maybe spend that energy teaching your kids how much privilege they have and spend that money doing a project with your kids to help the less fortunate.

BTW, this dynamic seems especially obnoxious given that the parents could have easily rented an apartment in Boston and avoided all this, yet decided they would rather fuck around with fake addresses and claiming they live in a hotel and whatever. And then they try and play the homeless card? GTFO.

up
51

I would put a fat 20$ bet on

By on

I would put a fat 20$ bet on them gunning for BLS due to the higher-than-average Harvard acceptance rate for alumni.

Bingo

By on

I think the word is out that BLS has a special relationship with Harvard and accepts more students than most high schools so this is a way for parents obsessed with getting the kid into Harvard to up their odds. People are moving into Boston from wealthy suburbs with very good schools to take advantage of this situation. It's infuriating to me when kids who have been in Boston their whole lives or those kids in BPS for whom exam school opportunity could change their lives are not given this chance due to someone gaming the system.

Perhaps infuriating...but if

By on

Perhaps infuriating...but if you live in the city, you absolutely have the right to send your children to school here.

Oh no doubt

By on

And kids from privileged families do well without going to Harvard.

Wowee

By on

Northern Virginia has many good schools. So obnoxious of them to think they can swoop in and grab a seat for their boy while many actual current residents wait for their opportunity.

up
24

Nobody's perfect

By on

But BPS has people whose full time jobs are to find people trying to sneak their kids into Boston schools - just it's usually from neighboring communities, not several states away.

Shame on the parents

By on

for trying to claim the son was homeless. That is an insult to those who truly suffer. Good for BPS on this one.

up
60

What's it matter

The future of testing schools are bleak anyway in Boston
In the next few years the applicants will only have to name colors of crayons to pass the test.
The dumbing down for all testing to please certain people will make sure of it.

up
17

I find that

By on

Stephen's comments read much better if you imagine them as cut-rate Andy Rooney signoffs.

"Those silly kids and their fidget spinners! Why in my day, kids ran around OUTSIDE, like they're supposed to."

"What are you supposed to do with the cotton ball at the top of the pill bottle? Put it back in?"

"Pretty soon those kids are just gonna have to name COLORS of CRAYONS to graduate from HIGH SCHOOL!"

up
28

The future are bleak

It’s interesting to see this work through of the constitutional issues with exam school assignment because I expect someone to sue again if the assignment process is changed.

More like Emily Rooney

And her ceaseless try-hard striving limousine bullshit. Andy Rooney wasn't so very much a racist prick wannabe internet tough guy boasting on the golf course.

I don't know, splitting lots of hairs here.

By on

The kid lives in a hotel nearby, but that's ruled to only be "temporary" and so he doesn't qualify. Other kids who live in the same can get in as homeless but unfortunately for him his parents pay for the room, so screw you. He's not homeless but obviously their housing is in flux because of factors beyond their control (which sounds like a good definition of homeless). Something about the address on the form being false (Canal st) and not letting them amend it (we already read it once!)

Just a kid trying to get into a school, as his parents obviously took jobs here and all be your neighbors shortly. Their closing got held up and now they are in limbo, no need for the hate. To read the head-line you would think they planned to put the kid on a plane from Richmond every day.

It's the whole lawsuit thing that bugs me

By on

I don't think the parents set out to scam the system. As you say, events beyond their control caused their plan to fall apart. But what most parents would do then is say, "Oh shoot, we screwed up and Johnny will have to go somewhere else for school." Instead they sued and brought up a bunch of lame-ass arguments. Just suck it up and move on.

up
29

They have a case. The kid passed the test. They live here.

By on

They thought that they would be ensconced in the new home in WR by now. That didn't happen but they are living in Boston just the same. Doesn't sound frivolous to me. If it turns out this another Milton family trying to sneak in that would be different. We can criticize them for filing the suit, and also for not getting an atty to file the suit?

Don't understand where the anger is coming from on this. No ones stealing from the community here. Given all the evidence here why are they entitled assholes? (At least one poster here didn't read the article and thinks they really do live in VA.) I'm not going to get mad at them because I can't afford a $1M home. These people are Drs, it's not like they made their money running viable businesses into the ground for Bain Capital.

Tell it to the judge

By on

A judge determined they failed to prove they actually lived here. They can still make their case at trial, because the judge only denied their request for immediate action, rather than dismissing the suit outright, but they're going to have to come up with better evidence than they showed her.

As for who they're hurting - given that BLS only has so many seats, if they're not actually Boston residents, then the kid would be taking a seat away from a kid who actually does live here.

It's not splitting hairs to

By on

It's not splitting hairs to deny a wealthy child the protections given to homeless children to uphold their constitutional right to a free education.

The family in this article is not homeless. According to the McKinney–Vento Homeless Assistance Act of 1987, anyone who "lacks fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence" is homeless. This family does not lack fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence.

To use protections for homeless children to try to get into a popular exam school is shocking, despicable behavior. It's sickening.

The article doesn't say that the family lives in nearby hotel. It says that the parents were unable to produce evidence that they live in Boston -- at a hotel, at an office, etc.

The article doesn't say that "his parents obviously took jobs here." You made that up.

They also filed their appeal well after the deadline, but their case was still heard.

Boston Latin School is for residents of Boston. This kid is not a resident of Boston.

up
13

No one is stealing from homeless children.

By on

No one is taking housing or opportunity from the homeless kids. That's just false drama, driven by people who love the same. They are saying their situation is similar: They are being forced to live out of a hotel and that is why they are in temporary housing. Basically they are asking for a break but you guys have the moral outrage turned up to ten.

The article states that they are living in a hotel near the school, and have signed a lease. (Reading is Fundamental). These people are moving from VA to Boston so normal people understand they must have taken jobs here. Just because it doesn't state it in the article doesn't make me a liar, unless you really do think they are putting the kid on a plane from VA every morning.

No one got a job anywhere

By on

"Mother claims in her affidavit she is starting a consulting job with Medi Managers....Medi Managers, LLC is a company that was conveniently created on October 24, 2017, the office for which is located at 90 Canal Street....However, Mother has provided no details regarding this alleged consulting position. In fact, Mother, a physician, maintains licenses in multiple states however, allowed her Massachusetts license to lapse in 2008, nor does she include a Massachusetts address as a primary practice address."

up
15

I'm not sure I believe

By on

The story about why they don't have a home in Boston.

The canal street address looks like the mother was deliberately misleading authorities.

I feel for the kid, who seems to have a couple of a-holes for parents.

up
12

What were the parents thinking?

By on

What was the parents' situation? They lived in VA, had an office in Boston, and for some reason wanted their kid to transfer from VA schools to BLS?

It's hard for doctors to move between states. Plus they probably have the means to send their kid to any private school or boarding school they want. They must have spent a boatload of money just on this lawsuit. It's all weird on the face of it.

up
23

They were probably thinking...

that BPS would be eager to have their young Master of the Universe attending, and that the residency requirement is just a formality that they only have to make a token effort to comply with.

I'm less impressed

Than some people by BLS. That said, if young Master Doe does his homework as well as his parents did, he wouldn't have done well there anyway.

up
19

Likely didn’t get into Thomas Jefferson High School

By on

I’m from Northern Virginia. The counties- Fairfax County being the largest- all have high performing high schools. The magnet school, Thomas Jefferson High School, is one of the nation’s top public high schools and takes students from Fairfax and several other NoVA counties. It is HIGHLY competitive, even more so than Boston. I’m thinking their child didn’t get in so they went looking around and decided on BLS.

Point of Curiosity

What is the policy on transferring to Boston Latin?

In other words, had they enrolled the kid in VA, could they have switched him over when they actually moved to Boston?

Nope

By on

You enter in seventh grade, though you can retest for whatever slots are open come the ninth grade.