Author: Michael P. McKeon

Pullman & Comley’s November 21, 2014 Special Education Legal Issues Forum

Pullman & Comley School Law attorneys Michael P. McKeon, Mark J. Sommaruga, and Susan L. Scott discussed recent, noteworthy court and hearing officer decisions in the area of special education, as well as reviewed trends and best practices pertaining to manifestation determinations, private placements, independent evaluations and common PPT conundrums at Pullman & Comley’s Fall…

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Discipline as Defamation: Title IX, Disciplinary Panels, and The Risks of Righteousness in The Wake of Wells V. Xavier and Harris V. St. Joseph’s

Two recent court rulings illustrate some of the perils facing university administrators when handling internal disciplinary complaints against students who have been alleged to have committed on-campus sexual assaults. These risks were previously discussed in the context of the plaintiff, Dez Wells’ Title IX claims in Wells v. Xavier University.  Of perhaps equal significance, however,…

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Summertime Blues: T.M. v. Cornwall and The Mainstreaming of Extended-School-Year Programs

In a decision that will likely result in both practical challenges and financial burdens for public school districts, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held in T.M. v. Cornwall Central School District that the legal obligation to educate special education students in the least restrictive environment, or “LRE,” is not limited…

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Wells v. Xavier University: Investigating Campus Sexual Assaults and The Perils of Predetermination Under Title IX

The recent wave of Title IX complaints filed with the United States Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights [“OCR”], claiming that colleges and universities were either ignoring or mishandling reports of sexual assaults has underscored the importance of implementing effective student sexual harassment policies and procedures. At the same time, the recent case of…

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Vergara v. California: Part Two: Is Tenure in Connecticut At Risk?

As discussed in a prior post,  the recent decision in the case of Vergara v. State of California, et al., will, if upheld on appeal, eviscerate California’s public school teacher tenure law. Given that 46 states have some form of teacher tenure, Vergara has unleashed a sonic clash between keening prophesies of pedagogical collapse and…

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Vergara v. California, and the Attenuation of Tenure, Part One: The Decision

In a landmark, June 10, 2014 decision that could set off a wave of similar litigation across the country, a California Superior Court judge ruled in the case of  Vergara v. State of California, et al. that a number of California’s teacher tenure laws had the constitutionally impermissible effect of depriving students of equal protection under…

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Special Education Legal Issues Forum: Thursday June 5, 2014

Attention Special Education Directors and Administrators: The next complimentary Pullman and Comley Special Education Forum will be held on Thursday, June 5, 2014.  School Law attorneys Michael McKeon, Mark Sommaruga and Susan Scott  will present on a variety of topics including the impact of new legislation, recent cases and trends, settlement agreements and Section 504 issues. Specific topics…

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(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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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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Separate and Unequal

Unlike people, not all schools are created equal. Anyone who doubts that need only review the results of the Civil Rights Data Collection [“CRDC”] for the 2011-2012 school year, which were released on March 21, 2014 by the United States Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights [“OCR”].   OCR uses the CRDC to gather information…

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