The Bernice Bicep Case. Jennifer L. Marks and Carol McMillan. Overview.
Jennifer L. Marks
Bernice Bicep is a probationary middle school special education teacher who also teaches a social studies class in the regular curriculum. Ms. Bicep was informed by the district special education supervisor that three special education students from the resource room program would be attending her regular education social studies class. Ms. Bicep warned the students that appropriate behavior was necessary to remain in the social studies class. After repeated warnings to the principal and several verbal warnings to the students to correct inappropriate behavior, the students were subsequently returned to the resource room. Ms. Bicep refused to reinstate the students. A written reprimand was placed in her file and she was informed that she would not be rehired.
The plaintiff filed a grievance and a complaint to the office of Civil Rights. Bicep alleged that she was never given a hearing for non-renewal of her contract, which violated her constitutional rights by depriving her of her liberty and property interest without due process of the law.
Legal path of a grievance: The plaintiff filed a grievance with the principal within 30 days receiving her written reprimand. The principal schedules a conference within five days with a view to arrive at a mutually satisfactorily resolution. Ms. Bicep or a union representative may present the grievance.
Bicep’s case would impact a school district because Public Law 94-142 mandates free and appropriate education for all disabled children and schools must adhere to this law. Another significant implication that a case like this could have on a school district is loss of federal funding. Public Law 94-142 section 504 would cut off federal funds from schools that discriminate.