Author: Melinda Kaufmann

Schools Must Take Care to Follow Established Complaint Procedures When Investigating Student Complaints of Sexual Harassment Against Employees In Order to Avoid Potential Liability for Sex Discrimination

In two cases this month, the Federal Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has opined that a college may be found liable for sex discrimination when it acts on allegedly false accusations of sexual impropriety made by students against a faculty member. These cases stress the importance of following internal complaint procedures and completing…

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Are the Records of School Resource Officers or School Security Officers Considered School Records Under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”)?

With respect to FERPA and its requirements regarding the disclosure of student records and personally identifiable student information, there are different rules in place for “school security” officials that are based upon their affiliation. Why is it important to determine who a school district’s law enforcement unit is (or if it even has a law…

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HEALTH AND SAFETY EXCEPTION TO FERPA’S CONFIDENTIALITY REQUIREMENTS

In this day and age where, sadly, tragedies have struck numerous schools across the country, the question of when schools are allowed to share personally identifiable student information with law enforcement frequently arises. The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”) allows schools to share education records when the disclosure is necessary to protect the…

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NO GOOD DEED GOES UNPUNISHED – MAKE SURE YOU ARE DOCUMENTING ALL THE SERVICES BEING PROVIDED TO YOUR SPECIAL NEEDS STUDENTS

It’s a familiar scenario. A student, perhaps one with behavioral issues, is identified as being in need of special education.  The parties get together and draft an individual education plan [“IEP”] for the student.  The school, in an attempt to help the student who is still struggling, provides additional services to the student – perhaps…

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Connecticut Federal District Court Holds There Is No Fundamental Constitutional Right To A Minimally Adequate Education

In a long-standing effort to desegregate Connecticut’s schools, the State has created a myriad of educational options for families including inter-district magnet schools, charter schools and the open choice program that allow students in one district to attend open seats in schools in other districts. There are often long waiting lists for these schools and…

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United States Department Of Education Issues Letter Guidance Regarding Private Evaluator’s Access To Classrooms For Student Observation

Once again, the Department of Education, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (“OSERS”) has weighed in on the rights of school districts to limit outside evaluators from accessing school classrooms. The most recent guidance addresses the issue of whether a public agency may limit the length of time an independent evaluator hired by a…

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CALIFORNIA COURT RULES DISTRICT CANNOT PROHIBIT STUDENTS FROM KNEELING DURING THE NATIONAL ANTHEM AT SCHOOL SPORTING EVENTS

In what appears to be the first decision on this issue in the country, a federal court in California granted a high school athlete’s request for an injunction overturning his high school’s prohibition against athletes kneeling during the national anthem. This issue, originally only appearing in the realm of professional athletics, has now trickled down…

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Does Providing A Parent With The Surveillance Video Of A School Incident And/Or Student Statements About The Incident That Involved Multiple Students Violate FERPA?

The United States Department of Education’s Office of the Chief Privacy Officer recently issued a guidance letter to a school district indicating that while surveillance video of a hazing incident that involved numerous perpetrators, victims and bystanders was considered an educational record of all students on the video, the school district must provide the parents…

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THE LATEST ON ALTERNATIVE EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES FOR EXPELLED STUDENTS: THE GOOD, THE NOT SO GOOD, THE UNKNOWN, AND “FINAL” THOUGHTS.

We have previously written in these pages about the development of “guidelines” or “standards” by the State Board of Education for the provision of educational opportunities for expelled students.  Click here to read Part 1 & Part 2.  Having had just a (teeny) little bit of time to ponder the final version of these guidelines, which were…

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A NEW YEAR AND NEW FINAL STANDARDS FOR EXPULSIONS AND ALTERNATIVE EDUCATION

The Connecticut State Department of Education this morning adopted new standards for expulsions and alternative education. As we discussed back in September (click here to read Part 1 & Part 2), pursuant to Public Act 17-220 the State Department of Education was tasked with developing standards for alternative education opportunities for expelled students that address the kind…

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