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Is Stephen T. Badin Catholic High School of Hamilton, Ohio, a state actor?

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A state actor is a person or organization acting on behalf of the government. In the United States, this has a very specific legal meaning and specific legal implications. Whether a specific school can legally be classified as a state actor under certain circumstances is something which would require the opinion of a lawyer or even a court. This answer is not professional legal advice and should not be taken as such. Instead, it provides background information for a student interested in learning about the issue for educational purposes.

The main issues at stake is that state actors are responsible for adhering to a range of federal laws that are not applicable to private actors. The specific differences pertain to applying the First, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments of the Bill of Rights. For example, private organizations can designate people persona non grata and eject protesters without violating their rights to free speech.

In public schools, which are definitely considered state actors, students have rights to freedom of speech and assembly and freedom from unreasonable search and seizure. Students are also entitled to due process in matters such as expulsion or suspension. This is not the case in private schools. Whether charter schools are considered state actors is still an area of legal controversy. In general, private and religious schools are not considered state actors. When such schools offer educational services via voucher programs, they act as private contractors rather than as instruments of the state. However, individual cases may vary, and legal thinking about some of these issues is still in flux.