United States District Court, D. Massachusetts
MEMORANDUM AND ORDER
J. Casper United States District Judge
Student Doe (“Doe”), through Doe's parent and
next friend Father Doe, has filed this pro se
lawsuit against Defendant Laura Perille
(“Perille”), in her official capacity as
Superintendent of Boston Public Schools, asserting violations
of Doe's constitutional rights and the McKinney-Vento
Act, 42 U.S.C. § 11431 et seq., in connection
with the withdrawal of Doe's admission to the Boston
Latin School (“BLS”) for the 2018-19 academic
year. D. 5; D. 11; D. 12. Doe seeks injunctive relief
requiring that Doe be allowed to attend BLS this year.
Id. For the reasons discussed below, Doe's
motions are DENIED.
Standard of Review
Injunctive relief “is an ‘extraordinary and
drastic remedy.'” Voice of the Arab World, Inc.
v. MDTV Med. News Now, Inc., 645 F.3d 26, 32 (1st Cir.
2011) (quoting Munaf v. Geren, 553 U.S. 674, 689-90
(2008)). To obtain such relief, the Court must consider: (1)
the movant's likelihood of success on the merits; (2) the
likelihood of the movant suffering irreparable harm if the
injunction is not granted; (3) the balance of equities
between the parties; and (4) whether granting the injunction
is in the public interest. Corp. Techs., Inc. v.
Harnett, 731 F.3d 6, 9 (1st Cir. 2013). Doe “bears
the burden of establishing that these four factors weigh in
[his] favor.” Esso Standard Oil Co. (P.R.) v.
Monroig-Zayas, 445 F.3d 13, 18 (1st Cir. 2006); see
Rivera-Vega v. ConAgra, Inc., 70 F.3d 153, 164 (1st Cir.
1995) (quoting Pye ex rel. NLRB v. Sullivan Bros.
Printers, 38 F.3d 58, 63 (1994)) (noting that when the
relief sought by the moving party “is essentially the
final relief sought, the likelihood of success should be
strong”) (emphasis in original) (internal
quotation marks omitted).
otherwise noted, the following facts are drawn from the
complaint, D. 1, Doe's motions for injunctive relief, D.
5; D. 11; D. 12, Perille's opposition, D. 17, and the
parties' supporting documents.
Boston Latin School
a public school for seventh through twelfth grade students
within the Boston Public Schools (“BPS”). Boston
Latin School Admissions FAQs, https://www.bls.org (last
visited Nov. 5, 2018). BLS is one of three “exam
schools” in BPS. Id. BLS, in particular, has
been described as “one of the best schools in the whole
country, ” id., and the “crown jewel of
the city's school system, ” D. 19 at 34. To be
eligible for admission to BLS, students must (1) apply to the
school when they are in either sixth or eighth grade, (2)
receive a certain score on the Independent Schools Entrance
Exam (“ISEE”), (3) maintain a certain grade point
average and (4) reside in Boston. Boston Latin School
Admissions FAQs, https://www.bls.org (last visited Nov. 5,
BPS Residency Policy
utilizes a student residency requirement for all schools
within its jurisdiction. D. 19 at 16-20. Pursuant to the BPS
residency policy, “a student must actually reside in
the City of Boston.” Id. at 16. The policy
defines residency as “the place where a person dwells
permanently, not temporarily, and is the place that is the
center of his or her domestic, social, and civic life.”
Id. The residence of a minor child is
“presumed to be the primary, legal residence of the
parent(s) or guardian(s) who has physical custody of the
child.” Id. Temporary residence in the City of
Boston “solely for the purpose of attending a Boston
public school, shall not be considered residency.”
Id. In determining a student's residency,
“Boston Public Schools reserves its right to request a
variety of documentation and to conduct Investigation into
where a student actually resides.” Id. In
addition, “[b]ecause residency can, and does, change
for students and their families during the course of the
academic year, [BPS] may continue to verify residency after
the commencement of classes.” Id.
admission to exam schools, including BLS, BPS requires
students to prove their Boston residency “no later than
the first Friday in November for matriculation the following
September.” Id. at 10. This policy may be, in
part, a response to concerns that non-resident parents
“go to great lengths” to skirt Boston residency
requirements so their children can attend BLS. Id.
at 34 (describing the residency proposal for BPS exam schools
in an article in The Boston Globe dated April 23,
2010). The residency policy represents “the latest
effort to crack down on residency fraud in the city's
school system.” Id.
of the residency policy may result in strict penalties,
including “[i]mmediate dismissal from school” and
“[p]er diem fines for the educational and related
services” provided to nonresidents. Id. at 10.
Students who are dismissed from BPS schools for failure to
prove their Boston residency “may appeal this
determination through the Office of the Ombudsperson, whose
shall be final.” Id. at 11. Any such appeal
must be made within ten days of the dismissal notice.
BPS's Withdrawal of Doe's Admission to
November 2017, Doe's mother (“Mother Roe”)
registered Doe for the ISEE. D. 1 ¶ 13. Mother Roe
provided an address on Canal Street in Boston (the
“Canal Street address”) on the BPS residency
verification forms, as well as a credit card statement, a
Massachusetts driver's license and a social security card
application that referenced the Canal Street address. D. 19
at 37-42. Doe took the ISEE in November 2017, D. 1 ¶ 14,
and was invited to attend BLS in March 2018, id.
¶ 15. On June 15, 2018, BPS's Ombudsperson, Carolyn
MacNeil (“MacNeil”), who is responsible for
verifying student residency and enforcing the BPS residency
policy, informed Mother Roe that Doe would be denied entrance