The parents of a student sued a school district, the school counselor and the high school area director of the school district regarding the district’s determination that a computer science class did not count as a weighted class for purposes of class ranking. The issue before the court of appeals was whether the school district and the employees who had been sued were immune from suit.

Under the school district’s policy, “eligible courses” are categorized and weighted for purposes of calculating GPA, depending on whether the course is an AP course, a dual-enrollment course, a pre-AP course, an honors course or an advanced course. AP and dual-enrollment courses are weighted the most, receiving an additional 10 points to the grade that the student earns on a 100-point scale. The student was advised by the counselor that a dual-enrollment computer science course would be weighted and calculated for GPA purposes as a “plus 10” course. The student enrolled in the class and made a 100. She expected she would receive an additional 10 points to that grade that would be included in class rank determinations.

After the student completed the course, the district determined the class did not constitute a core class and that under the district’s policy, the grade could not be used for ranking purposes. This determination affected 70 to 80 students who had taken the class. The parents of the students filed a grievance, which was denied by the board of trustees. The parents then filed suit.

The 13th Court of Appeals held that the district and its employees could not be sued. A governmental entity is immune from suit and the entity’s employee is also immune while acting in the course and scope of employment. The parents alleged that the school district employees exceeded their authority and did not comply with school district policies relating to class ranking, and that therefore they lost their immunity. However, the court disagreed. School district employees lose immunity when they act without legal authority in carrying out their duties. The school district employees testified that they lacked authority to count computer science as a class that could be considered a “plus 10” class. They made a mistake when they told the student otherwise and did not have the authority to correct the mistake once it was discovered. This type of mistake is not the type of abuse of discretion that would allow the court to conclude that the immunity should be removed.