Author: Michael P. McKeon

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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The Road Not Taken

What is not alleged in a lawsuit can, paradoxically, sometimes serve as more of a cautionary note than what is, for its very absence brings it prominence.  Such is the case with Saliba v. Five Towns College, 2014 WL 92690 (E.D.N.Y.  Jan. 10, 2014), in which the plaintiff, a former Assistant Professor of English, claimed…

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Common Core Testing Opt-Out…..Is it Legal?

Connecticut’s roll-out of the Common Core State Standards has been, to put it mildly, controversial.  Critics of Common Core have decried what they perceive as the loss of local pedagogical control in favor of state and federal “Big Brotherism”.  Another sore spot is Common Core’s supposed emphasis on non-fiction texts over the tried and true…

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Welcome to Education Law Notes

Welcome to Education Law Notes, Pullman & Comley’s blog on legal issues that pertain to public school districts, private schools, colleges and universities.  Few aspects of society more universally affect us than education, which is perhaps why few areas are more heavily regulated.  Educational institutions face legal issues in academics, labor and employment, free speech,…

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Demystifying The Costs of Special Education

Despite comprising a significant percentage of every school district’s budget, special education costs often are not well understood.  Even to those aware of special education mandates, their implementation can appear, in Winston Churchill’s words, to be a mystery wrapped in an enigma.  Additionally, federal laws protecting student confidentiality preclude a discussion of specific situations, so…

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Leveling the Playing Field: Providing Equitable Athletic Opportunities for Disabled Students

When Congress enacted Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. §§1681 et seq. [“Title IX”], it forever changed the landscape of interscholastic and intercollegiate sports.  Although as the recent Biediger v. Quinnipiac federal lawsuit makes clear, disputes pertaining to gender-based athletic equity still arise, what some originally feared would rend the fabric…

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