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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Violation of Stay-Put Provisions Under the IDEA Can Be Costly

In what appears to be the first case of its kind within the Second Circuit, a United States District Court Judge within the District of Connecticut has crafted an order of over $200,000 in compensatory damages for a school board’s violation of the stay-put provisions of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act [“IDEA”]. More specifically,…

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Not NORML: Blunt Speech in Gerlich v. Leath

A recent decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit serves as a cautionary reminder that once an educational institution creates a limited public forum for speech, it cannot then pick and choose which speech it will permit. The Eighth Circuit’s decision in Gerlich v Leath arose from Iowa State University’s attempt…

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Rebel Without A Stall: Title IX, Transgender Student Rights and Whitaker v. Kenosha

When the Trump Administration short-circuited the United States Supreme Court’s review of Gloucester v. G.G., in which the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit had held that Title IX’s protections extend to transgender students, it seemed that transgender students’ rights were on life support.  Like Jarvis Lorry in Charles Dickens’ Tale of…

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Who is Considered A Parent For Purposes of Accessing School Records?

Under state and federal law, a parent generally has the right to access his/her child’s educational records. The question is, who is considered a “parent” in under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”).  As the definition of “family” changes and broadens, it is important for schools to know who has the right to…

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Social Media and Student Discipline – Where Are We?

The United States Supreme Court stated nearly 50 years ago that public school students do not shed their rights to free speech at the schoolhouse gate. In Tinker v. Des Moines Indep. Cmty. Sch. Dist.,[1] the Court struck down suspensions to students for wearing arm bands in protest of the Vietnam war. Today, however, social…

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The Aftermath: Developments From The 2017 Regular Session of The Connecticut General Assembly Affecting Schools

The 2017 Regular Session of the Connecticut General Assembly concluded at midnight, June 7, 2017, without accomplishing its most important task (passing a budget). As such, the General Assembly will eventually have to convene a “special session.”  In the meantime, our legislature did pass several bills that will affect Connecticut schools.  Among other things, the…

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Check Please: OCR’s Future in the Wake of Proposed Budget Cuts

Published reports indicate that President Trump’s proposed budget includes what is approximately a fifty percent reduction in the prior fiscal year’s funding for the United States Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights [“OCR”]. OCR is charged with responsibility for investigating student discrimination claims in public school districts as well as in private schools, colleges,…

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Public Act 16-67 – Are Your Background-Check Practices Compliant?

It’s been almost exactly a year since Public Act 16-67 – officially entitled “An Act Concerning the Disclosure of Certain Education Personnel Records, Criminal Penalties for Threatening in Educational Settings and the Exclusion of a Minor’s Name from Summary Process Complaints” was signed into law by Governor Malloy. The Act, more commonly known as the…

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