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Student Due Process

Johnson v. Marshall High School

Guide your students through the fictional case of Jamie Johnson, a high school student who was suspended after a student protest got out of hand. Students will examine the Fourteenth Amendment right to due process and apply the precedent set in Goss v. Lopez to answer the question: Does the Constitution protect Jamie’s right to due process before a suspension from school?


This fictional case draws on real precedent set in the 1975 Supreme Court case, Goss v. Lopez that defined the requirements of due process in schools. Dwight Lopez, along with a number of other students in Columbus, Ohio were suspended for destroying school property during a protest.  The Court ruled 5-4 in favor of the students. They said schools cannot take away the property right to an education and suspend students without a fair process to investigate the misconduct. The Court found that students facing suspension should be given notice and afforded some kind of hearing.

Your students will:

  • Explore the limits on a student's right to Due Process in a public school

  • Weigh the need for school administrators to maintain a safe and orderly learning environment

  • Analyze the Fourteenth Amendment

  • Draw on precedent established in the case of Goss v. Lopez

Cases take roughly 60-80 minutes for a class to play through. To run the role-play over multiple days, use the link VOXPOP will send you to re-open your session.

Create a different session for each class that you intend to use this case with.

Not sure how sessions work? Feel free to create a session and step through it to get a feel for the content. You can create as many sessions as you need. Or watch a video walkthrough.



The VOXPOP software will deliver this content to students during the role-play. Use this outline to familiarize yourself with the content of the scenario, the roles students will be assigned and the choices they will be asked to make.


Students: 6 to 50

Running Time: 60-80 minutes (the role-play can be broken into multiple sessions)


This printable PDF guide provides detailed facilitation instructions, pre-simulation activities and post-simulation assessments.


This video provides historical context.


This video breaks the case down into facts.


Students are assigned to the following groups:


The Justices review the facts and prepare questions for the Petitioners & Respondents that help clarify the case.  Justices have different perspectives on the law.  Some Justices focus on the Constitution, while others may prioritize precedents or future outcomes.  


The Petitioners have brought the case. They argue that the suspension of Jamie Johnson was a violation of her right to due process. They are fighting to defend due process in schools.


The Respondents, the Marshall High School administration, defending their decision to suspend a student who participated in a protest that led to the destruction of school property. They are fighting to make sure that school administrators can create a safe space where everyone can learn.


Here are a few suggested discussion questions to pose at the end of the role-play.  Please feel free to use your own.

  • Why is due process important?

  • How did the Fourteenth Amendment play into this case?

  • What parts of due process should schools grant to students?

  • In what situation might it be reasonable for schools to limit a student’s right to due process?



Amanda Setters, iCivics

Mattia Romeo, VOXPOP

Greg Trefry, VOXPOP


Library of Congress

Art Lien / The Court Artist




Colombus Metropolitan Library

Elvert Barnes / Flickr

Charlene Butts Ligon 

William David Bell / Time/Life, Volume 17, Number 6, p 25

Don Cravens / Getty Images.

Patrick Semansky / AP Photo

Bettmann / Getty Images

Special Thanks

Mordecai Moore and the students at Stuyvesant High School in New York City

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