Author: Melinda Kaufmann

STATE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION PROVIDES PROPOSED FINAL DRAFT OF GUIDELINES FOR EXPULSIONS AND ALTERNATIVE EDUCATION (Part 2)

“And thirdly, the code is more what you’d call “guidelines” than actual rules …” Captain Barbosa in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl On September 5, 2017, the State Board of Education’s Legislative and Policy Development Committee presented a “final draft” of “Guidelines for Alternative Learning Environments.” The Guidelines, however, as…

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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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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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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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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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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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United States Supreme Court Defines Standard For Special Education: Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District RE-1

In a unanimous decision, the United States Supreme Court held that the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEA) requires school districts to provide special education students with “an educational program reasonably calculated to enable a child to make progress appropriate in light of the child’s circumstances.” While the Court made clear that this is…

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A Kindergarten Student and Her Dog Named Wonder: What Rights Do Students Have To Service Animals In The Classroom?

What are the parameters for requiring schools to accommodate students’ service animals in the classroom? The United States Supreme Court recently turned prior thinking on this issue on its head, finding that even though a student does not need the service animal in order to receive a “free appropriate public education” as required by federal…

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A Cadillac, A Serviceable Chevrolet Or Something In Between: The Supreme Court Is Poised To Redefine The Standard Of Education That Must Be Provided To Special Education Students

On January 11, 2017, the United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District, a case likely to change the landscape of special education by redefining the level of education that is owed special education students under the IDEIA. The case involves an autistic child who is referred to…

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OSEP Speaks Again: Ensure Your Evaluations Address All Areas of Potential Concern

On October 22, 2016, the US Department of Education’s  Office of Special Education Programs (“OSEP”), via its latest informal guidance/opinion letter (“Letter to Carroll”), once again addressed whether, once a school district’s evaluation is complete and the parents communicate a desire for a child to be assessed in an area in which they have not previously…

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