State and Local Legal Blog

A case to follow… | March 31, 2014

On February 27, 2014, the Mississippi Supreme Court rendered an opinion sending a case back to the Jackson County Circuit Court for a reassessment of facts.  The case is quite interesting and its ultimate resolution may have an impact not only on school districts (Moss Point School District was the defendant in this case) but on other governmental entities.  (Moss Point School District v. Stennis)

Here’s the deal:  the school district had a student handbook which, in addition to providing student regulations and duties, may have imposed affirmative duties on the school district.  (This is where the facts are a little vague in the lower court record.)

The Supreme Court remanded for more information about the student handbook.  In addressing the remand, the Court said that it had never addressed whether a student handbook could impose a ministerial duty upon a school.  But state law is clear that if a school chooses to establish regulations for its operation the school should use ordinary care in the execution and performance of positive duties which the school imposes upon itself.

While we will have to wait for an ultimate decision, were I a governmental entity, I would closely consider this case and what it might potentially mean to any student or employee handbook that I provided to my students or employees.

Just a tip.


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