Taking action to protect their right to a free public school education, guaranteed to them under the Maryland Constitution, students in Prince George’s County filed a lawsuit challenging mandatory fees for summer school classes required for students to advance in school and to graduate. The students’ lawsuit, brought against the Prince George’s County School Board, seeks a preliminary injunction to lift summer school fees for this summer.
The Constitution of Maryland establishes the mandate for free public schools. The Maryland Court of Appeals has interpreted this provision as requiring schools to “be open to all without expense.” However, Prince George’s County has a long and unfortunate history of denial of educational opportunity, particularly to students who are Black or poor. Now, by denying indigent students the opportunity to attend summer school classes if they cannot afford them, PGCSB is violating the explicit terms of the Maryland Constitution.
PRESS RELEASE: Prince George’s Students Fight for Right to Public Education, Challenging Fees for Required Summer School (June 13, 2019)
PRESS RELEASE: Prince George’s Students Fighting for Right to Public Education Ask Judge to Consider COVID-19 Implications (April 28, 2020)
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Prince George's County is providing summer school on a remote basis only, and agreed to waive all fees for all students. The parties agreed to dismiss the challenge as moot. An agreement was reached in early June 2020 and a motion to dismiss was submitted on June 25.