Author: Melinda Kaufmann

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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Pullman & Comley’s School Law Practice Hosts Fall Special Education Legal Issues Forum

Attorneys Michael P. McKeon, Mark J. Sommaruga and Melinda B. Kaufmann of Pullman & Comley’s School Law Practice hosted the firm’s semi-annual Special Education Legal Issues Forum on October 28, 2016, at The Hartford Club.  This dynamic program is designed specifically for school district special education leaders and professionals and covers current legal developments affecting this…

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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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