Monthly Archives: April 2014

(Academic) Freedom Is Free(r)

Samuel Johnson, the 18th-century English writer and lexicographer, observed that “words are but the signs of ideas.” While not intended as such, Dr. Johnson’s insight neatly summarizes one of the catalyzing principles for the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, specifically as it applies to freedom of speech. This insight has gained particular currency…

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New Legislation Attempts to Deal with Chronic Absenteeism

The Connecticut General Assembly is poised to act on a bill entitled “An Act Concerning Chronic Absenteeism.” This legislation requires a board of education to do two things: (1) establish a district school attendance review team when 10% or more of the district’s students (or 15% or more of the students of a single school)…

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Regulation Review Committee Ready To Consider New Paraprofessional FMLA Regulations

The Connecticut General Assembly’s Legislative Regulation Review Committee will consider the Department of Labor’s proposed paraprofessional Family Medical Leave Act, or “FMLA” regulations at its April 22, 2014 meeting. Consideration by the Regulation Review Committee is one of the last steps in Connecticut’s regulatory approval process, and, barring the unforeseen, it seems very likely that…

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LATEST DEVELOPMENTS FROM THE CONNECTICUT GENERAL ASSEMBLY: The Education Committee Speaks

Before the deadline for committee action, the General Assembly’s Education Committee voted favorably on and advanced out of committee a plethora of bills. Among the most noteworthy were: 1) a bill that would delay the implementation of the uniform regional calendar, 2) a bill giving greater discretion to school boards with regard to expunging an…

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Non-Tenured Teacher Non-Renewal – Notices Due By May 1

One of the less-pleasant rites of spring for Connecticut’s public school districts is determining whether to non-renew the employment of their non-tenured teachers.  Section 10-151 of the Connecticut General Statutes, which governs the employment of the state’s public school teachers, requires districts to provide non-tenured teachers with written notice of their non-renewal no later than May…

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SEMINAR: “Special Education Law in Connecticut”

Pullman and Comley School Law section attorneys Mark J. Sommaruga and Michael McKeonwill be speaking at a PESI Continuing Education Seminar.  They will discuss how to: avoid common procedural mistakes under the IDEA and Section 504, draft IEPs that comply with the law, limit potential liability for both the district and staff members and learn practical tips for compliance with the law. Friday, April 25,…

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Recording Special Education Team Meetings: Three Reasons Why Your School District Should Have a Written Policy

The audio recording of special education team meetings [“PPTs”] by parents and advocates has become a relatively accepted and common practice.  Technically, school districts are only obligated to permit the recording of such meetings when doing so would enable the parent to effectively participate in the development of the student’s individualized education plan [“IEP”] or…

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Athletics For Disabled Students

In what seems a surprising move to many, particularly for the Obama Administration, the Department of Education Office of Civil Rights (“OCR”) has backed away from last year’s strong policy statement on access to extracurricular athletics for disabled students.  In a “Dear Colleague” Letter (“DCL”) issued on December 16, 2013, OCR announced that school districts…

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Transgender Students and Communal School Bathrooms: Doe V. Regional School Unit 26

How can Connecticut schools best accommodate transgender students? While it is fair to say that this is not the sort of question that most superintendents, college administrators and board of education members would have been asking themselves fifty, or even five, years ago, society has evolved, and, consequently, so have educators’ legal obligations.  According to…

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