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Social Studies

Teaching Supreme Court Cases: Goss v. Lopez Due Process Lesson Plan

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Due Process Lesson Plan

This blog and the accompanying resource are part of a Shaped monthly series providing teachers for Grades 6–12 with downloadable U.S. history classroom resources and discussion topics.

In 1975, the U.S. Supreme Court confronted the following question: Does a school have a right to suspend a student without a hearing? The answer ultimately boiled down to the concept of due process, which ensures that fairness is a priority in legal matters and that a state respects the legal rights granted to its citizens.

For context, a Columbus, Ohio, school suspended Dwight Lopez and several other students for destroying school property and disrupting the learning environment. At the time, the state of Ohio permitted schools to suspend students without hearings. But in Goss v. Lopez, the Supreme Court upheld a district court's decision that because Ohio extended the right to an education to all of its citizens, it could not take away that right without due process, meaning some sort of hearing would be needed.

Start a discussion with your students about the role of the Fourteenth Amendment in schools with this Goss v. Lopez due process lesson plan, where students can read more about the case and answer two questions on the topic.


Learn more about HMH Social Studies, including the Judicial Inquiries program for middle and high school students to study 25 landmark Supreme Court cases that continue to impact their lives.

Read more blogs about teaching Supreme Court cases, including:

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