CLEAR AND CONVINCING: DOE V. JACKSON, DEVOS, AND THE FUTURE OF CAMPUS SEXUAL MISCONDUCT INVESTIGATIONS

  On September 7, 2017, Betsy DeVos, the Secretary of Education, announced that the United States Department of Education intended to revisit the “Dear Colleague” letter that the Department’s Office for Civil Rights, or “OCR,” issued on April 4, 2011. Although over the years OCR has issued a number of these often draconian Dear Colleague…

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HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL COACH DOES NOT HAVE THE RIGHT TO PRAY ON THE 50 YARD LINE AFTER THE GAME – LESSONS FROM THE NINTH CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS

Does a school district violate the First Amendment when it prohibits a football coach from kneeling on the fifty yard line and praying with students and members of the public at the end of each high school football game? The Ninth Circuit recently answered this question with a resounding “no” in Kennedy v. Bremerton School…

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Doggone: False Statements and Free Speech in Clemmons v. Guilford Technical Community College

Sometimes, the motivation for chronicling a court decision is not because it is particularly groundbreaking; rather, it can simply be a confluence of peculiar facts and a reiteration of relevant legal principles.  That is certainly true with Clemmons v. Guilford Technical Community College, a case arising out of the United States District Court for the…

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Liability for field trips: Munn v. Hotchkiss and ticks, Costa v. Plainville and basketball, and are there really any new obligations for public schools?

Last Friday (August 11, 2017), the Connecticut Supreme Court issued a decision garnering significant press attention in which it ruled that 1) Connecticut public policy imposes a duty upon schools to warn or protect against the risk of serious insect-borne disease when organizing trips abroad, and 2) a $41.5 million jury verdict with respect to…

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When Can Schools Ban a Parent or a Third Party from School Property and School Events?

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals recently addressed the issue of whether a school district can ban a parent from school property during the school day and/or during on-site sporting events based on the parent’s prior conduct.  The Court found that a principal had the right to ban an unruly parent from school property during the…

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Pullman & Comley 2017 “interim” legislative summary for schools

The Connecticut General Assembly enacted a number of laws during its 2017 regular session that will impact Connecticut schools. Among other things, bills have been enacted that: (1) “repeal and replace” last year’s radical enhancement of the alternative educational opportunity offered to students who are expelled from schools and that was supposed to take effect…

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Stick to the Script: The Consequences of Mishandling Sexual Misconduct Investigations in Doe v. Skidmore College

It would seem fairly self-evident that when a college or university establishes procedures for handling sexual misconduct claims, it should actually follow them.  That, however, was not the case in Matter of John Doe v. Skidmore College, a recently issued decision by the State of New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division.  Given what it termed…

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Make Sure Your Mandatory Reporting Policies And Trainings Are Up To Date

Now that summer is half-way over, it’s time to make sure that your district is on track to be compliant at the start of the new school year with up-to-date policies on mandated reporting and by ensuring that you have planned for the required training on mandatory reporting and on sexual abuse and assault awareness…

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Canary in a Coal Mine: Analyzing Title IX, OCR, and On-Campus Sexual Misconduct Adjudications in Plummer v. University of Houston

It is unusual for a dissenting opinion to be more noteworthy than the majority’s holding, yet that is the case in Plummer v. University of Houston, a decision recently handed down by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.  Except for the unsavory facts upon which the decision is based and Judge…

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IDEA Exhaustion is Alive and Well: Applying Fry in Graham v. Friedlander

A Connecticut Superior Court judge has issued what might be the first decision in the country applying the United States Supreme Court’s recent test for determining whether a party is required to exhaust the administrative remedies available under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 [“IDEA”]. The case of Graham, et al. v.…

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