A Look at Private School Lawsuits

A Look at Private School Lawsuits


According to a recent lawsuit between two Boston schools, a name is a highly valuable property. This particular lawsuit strikes some as an example of class warfare. Critics of the lawsuit contend that it is a battle being waged by one institution that has resources, against an institution that does not have the same resources.


Both institutions endeavor to teach our children. However, both institutions have considerably different means and approaches. Both institutions are located in Massachusetts. Keeping in mind all of the similar things these institutions share is important. In doing so, we are going to be able to develop a better idea of the differences that arguably created this lawsuit in the first place.


Boston School Lawsuit

This event occurred just a couple of weeks ago. The story began when a highly-respected private school decided to file a lawsuit in Federal Court. This two-million-dollar suit was leveled against an independent school in Springfield, which is approximately ninety miles from Boston. Just to give you an idea of the differences between these schools, let’s take a look at tuition. The yearly tuition and fees at the Commonwealth School, which can be found in the Back Bay portion of Boston, is somewhere in the neighborhood of forty thousand dollars. By comparison, the tuition and other expenses associated with the Commonwealth Academy is approximately twelve hundred dollars.


Just in terms of tuition alone, you can imagine striking differences between the two. Yet in spite of the vast wealth gap between the two schools, and in spite of the fact that the Commonwealth Academy is roughly ninety miles away from Boston’s Commonwealth School, it is the wealthier school that feels as though an injustice has been done.


Founded in 1957, the Commonwealth School feels as though the Commonwealth Academy has intentionally tried to cause confusion, particularly in terms of its use of the word “commonwealth.” It is the belief of the Commonwealth School that this confusion has caused the school great harm. In addition to the money that is being demanded in the lawsuit, the Commonwealth School is also making the argument that the Commonwealth Academy should be made to change their name.


It is worth noting that the Commonwealth Academy is considerably newer than the Commonwealth School. Whereas the Commonwealth School was founded in 1957, as was mentioned before, the Commonwealth Academy was founded in 2011. The school is designed to particularly appeal to students who come from low-income families. The Commonwealth Academy is currently standing by their initial refusal to change the name. They do not believe that they have caused any harm to the Commonwealth School. They believe that the school is engaging in a campaign that they have described as “knowingly false and malicious campaign.”


Where The Trial Goes Next

For the time being, it is difficult to say where this lawsuit is ultimately going to go. On one hand, both schools do use the word “commonwealth” in their titles. While the schools are quite far from one another, they are both in the same state. Furthermore, the Commonwealth School has been around for several decades longer than that of the Commonwealth Academy. Some people do believe that seniority in a matter such as this should count for something. The lawsuit will juggle all of these particulars, and it remains to be seen what the outcome is going to be.


It is also difficult to say what will what happen to the Commonwealth Academy, in the event that they are forced to change their name. The two-million-dollar price tag will hurt, as well, but it’s hard to say if either/both of these things will damage the school to any particular degree. The school continues to work towards offering major educational opportunities to minority students and low-income students. Their prestige is not that of the Commonwealth School, but it is clear that the Commonwealth Academy wants to do a great deal for the community. No one can really say if the school intentionally sought to profit from the Commonwealth School, particularly since these institutions are roughly ninety miles apart from one another.


The word “commonwealth” is not an uncommon sight with private and other types of schools. This is just one element to this story that should be kept in mind, as the suit continues.  Hopefully a fair resolution is reached by all parties.


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