Topic: Legislation

General Assembly Passes Campus Sexual Assault Bill

On April 29, 2014, the State Senate unanimously passed House Bill 5029, An Act Concerning Sexual Assault, Stalking and Intimate Partner Violence on Campus. Two weeks earlier the House of Representatives passed the same version of the bill, so the bill now awaits Governor Malloy’s signature. (To date, Governor Malloy has not indicated whether or…

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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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New Legislation Attempts to Deal with Chronic Absenteeism

The Connecticut General Assembly is poised to act on a bill entitled “An Act Concerning Chronic Absenteeism.” This legislation requires a board of education to do two things: (1) establish a district school attendance review team when 10% or more of the district’s students (or 15% or more of the students of a single school)…

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Regulation Review Committee Ready To Consider New Paraprofessional FMLA Regulations

The Connecticut General Assembly’s Legislative Regulation Review Committee will consider the Department of Labor’s proposed paraprofessional Family Medical Leave Act, or “FMLA” regulations at its April 22, 2014 meeting. Consideration by the Regulation Review Committee is one of the last steps in Connecticut’s regulatory approval process, and, barring the unforeseen, it seems very likely that…

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Athletics For Disabled Students

In what seems a surprising move to many, particularly for the Obama Administration, the Department of Education Office of Civil Rights (“OCR”) has backed away from last year’s strong policy statement on access to extracurricular athletics for disabled students.  In a “Dear Colleague” Letter (“DCL”) issued on December 16, 2013, OCR announced that school districts…

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Feds Revive Efforts to Regulate Seclusion and Restraint

On February 12, 2014 the United States Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions [“HELP”] Committee released the results of its investigation into the use of restraint and seclusion in schools.  Entitled Dangerous Use of Seclusion and Restraints in School Remains Widespread and Difficult to Remedy:  A Review of Ten Cases,  the report contains a discussion…

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Latest Developments From The Connecticut General Assembly

The General Assembly’s Education Committee is conducting a public hearing on March 3, 2014.  The Committee will consider testimony on bills that, among other things: 1) require school districts to adopt policies or enter into memoranda of understanding with law enforcement agencies concerning the use of law enforcement personnel as school resource officers, 2) require…

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Students and Electronic Cigarettes: Implications of Governor Malloy’s Proposed Legislation

Recently, there has been a lot of debate in the media about electronic cigarettes or “e-cigarettes.” E-cigarettes are battery operated devices that are used to ingest nicotine by inhaling a vapor. (For more detail, the Connecticut Department of Public Health has issued a factsheet available here.) The discussion around e-cigarettes focuses on some very basic…

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A Sneak Peak at the State Department of Education’s Legislative Proposals

The General Assembly is back in session.  This year is an even-year, short-session, which means that pursuant to Article Third, Section Two of the Connecticut Constitution, the business of the General Assembly is limited to consideration of “budgetary, revenue and financial matters, bills and resolutions raised by committees of the general assembly and those matters…

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Dear Colleague Letter Urges Districts to Abandon “Zero Tolerance” in Student Discipline Policies

The Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education (OCR) and the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice recently released a joint “Dear Colleague Letter” (DCL) providing guidance on administering student discipline without discrimination on the basis of race, color or national origin. (“Dear Colleague Letter on the Nondiscriminatory Administration of…

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