Pullman & Comley’s 2016-17 Superintendents’ Legal Issues Forum – Session One Recap

Pullman & Comley’s 2016-17 Superintendents’ Legal Issues Forum got off to a great start with a thought provoking presentation by Mark Sommaruga and Zach Schurin regarding a summary of 2016 Connecticut legislative enactments affecting public schools. The three Public Acts that received the most attention were: (1)  Public Act 16-67 regarding employee background checks; (2) …

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Get Ready for the Changing Landscape of Expulsions

The legislature, this year, put in place significant changes relative to the expulsion of students which will supposedly go into effect on August 15, 2017. Assuming that the legislature leaves intact these changes during the 2017 legislative session, Districts will need to update their policies and programs in advance of the 2017-2018 school year. Expulsion…

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Half-Baked: Phillips Exeter, Sexual Assault, And A Recipe For Disaster

Considered one of the country’s most elite prep schools, Phillips Exeter Academy has recently joined the queue of prestigious private schools who have been accused of having ignored, suppressed, or minimized claims of sexual assault. A recent investigation by The Boston Globe’s Spotlight Team focused particular attention on a case in which a female student…

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Don’t Picture This: The FOIA And The Use Of Smartphones As A Substitute For Paying For Copies

Connecticut’s Freedom of Information Act [“FOIA”] generally permits public agencies to charge for copies (usually, $0.50/page) when complying with FOIA requests. One exception to this fee requirement is that an individual may engage in “self-help” and copy a public record through the use of a “hand-held scanner”. Connecticut General Statutes §1-212(g).  A “hand held scanner”…

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Foliage, Frost, Frozen Ponds and The FOIA (Part Three): Trying To Do The Right Thing Is A Good Thing Under The FOIA

In our latest posting on the Freedom of Information Act [“FOIA”], we confirm that the Freedom of Information Commission [“FOIC”] has a heart, and may sometimes forgive technical non-compliance by public agencies and their employees. Honesty and good faith = highly moral and good FOIA strategy I often preach that honesty, common sense and an…

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Foliage, Frost, Frozen Ponds And The FOIA (Part Two): Can You See My Notes (And Calendar)?

For those who still cannot get enough after my latest post on the Freedom of Information Act [“FOIA”], here are more nuggets from the Freedom of Information Commission [“FOIC”]. Today, we focus on written notes and calendar entries. When are personal notes FOIA-able? Generally, but not always, one’s own personal notes may be exempt from…

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Foliage, Frost, Frozen Ponds and The FOIA: More Interesting Cases From The FOIC (Part One)

Dropping thermometers did not diminish the heated action occurring before Connecticut’s Freedom of Information Commission [“FOIC”]. It should also go without saying that the accompanying snow, ice and other perils of winter did not eliminate the need of public agencies to comply with Connecticut’s Freedom of Information Act [“FOIA”].  Here are some decisions of note…

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Transgender Student Issues – The FEDs Speak, But Is It Really News In Connecticut?

On May 13, 2016, with much fanfare, the United States Department of Justice and the United States Department of Education jointly issued a “Dear Colleague Letter” [“DCL”] in order to provide guidance for school districts with respect to transgender students; the Departments also issued a document entitled “Samples of Policies and Emerging Practices for Supporting…

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