The American Civil Liberties Union of Ohio Foundation will file suit on Wednesday, March 6, 2002 in United States District Court in Cleveland, on behalf of families and students who are being denied an education by the Maple Heights City School District and the City of Maple Heights. Lawyers for the ACLU contend that the school district and city administration worked together to keep eligible students out of the public school system and in doing so, violated the Procedural and Substantive Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, as well as the Ohio Constitution’s guarantee of a free public education.

The Maple Heights City School District requires, as a matter of policy, a Certificate of Occupancy to prove residency when enrolling new students. To obtain a Certificate of Occupancy, residents must submit to and pass a home inspection given by the Maple Heights Building Department. This conditional admittance policy effectively denies students a right to a public education if the homes they live in fail to meet city standards.

“A school district has ability to use other forms of identification to prove residency. Making admission into a public school conditional upon how nice your home is offends the notion of a public education as well as the Constitution,” said Ray Vasvari, Legal Director of the ACLU. Chris Link, Executive Director of the ACLU added, “In their adoption and application of this policy, both the city and school district have ignored what is truly important: the students.”