A federal lawsuit accuses a Pennsylvania school district of imposing excessive and illegal fines on truant children or their families, including one parent ordered to pay $27,000 and a 17-year-old student fined more than $12,000.
The suit against the Lebanon School District, filed Thursday in Harrisburg by the Public Interest Law Center of Philadelphia on behalf of four parents and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, targets the court-imposed fines it says were above the state's limit of $300 per violation.
The suit seeks a class-action declaration and the return of any illegal money that the south-central Pennsylvania district collected. It also asks the court to stop the district from trying to collect any fines that violate state law and remain unpaid.
Superintendent Marianne Bartley has denied any wrongdoing by the district and referred calls Thursday to a lawyer. The lawyer, Rebecca Young, said that some of the law center's information in its public statements is inaccurate, but that she had not seen a copy of the lawsuit and could not comment on it.