Topic: Liability

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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Social Media and Student Discipline – Where Are We?

The United States Supreme Court stated nearly 50 years ago that public school students do not shed their rights to free speech at the schoolhouse gate. In Tinker v. Des Moines Indep. Cmty. Sch. Dist.,[1] the Court struck down suspensions to students for wearing arm bands in protest of the Vietnam war. Today, however, social…

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The Aftermath: Developments From The 2017 Regular Session of The Connecticut General Assembly Affecting Schools

The 2017 Regular Session of the Connecticut General Assembly concluded at midnight, June 7, 2017, without accomplishing its most important task (passing a budget). As such, the General Assembly will eventually have to convene a “special session.”  In the meantime, our legislature did pass several bills that will affect Connecticut schools.  Among other things, the…

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Check Please: OCR’s Future in the Wake of Proposed Budget Cuts

Published reports indicate that President Trump’s proposed budget includes what is approximately a fifty percent reduction in the prior fiscal year’s funding for the United States Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights [“OCR”]. OCR is charged with responsibility for investigating student discrimination claims in public school districts as well as in private schools, colleges,…

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Public Act 16-67 – Are Your Background-Check Practices Compliant?

It’s been almost exactly a year since Public Act 16-67 – officially entitled “An Act Concerning the Disclosure of Certain Education Personnel Records, Criminal Penalties for Threatening in Educational Settings and the Exclusion of a Minor’s Name from Summary Process Complaints” was signed into law by Governor Malloy. The Act, more commonly known as the…

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CHRO – A New Horizon For Students With Disabilities?

As my colleague Rachel Ginsburg aptly foretold, Connecticut’s Commission on Human Rights and Opportunities [“CHRO”] has indicated an interest in involving itself with discrimination claims concerning the schools. A recent case shows how CHRO can handle (or mishandle) matters that have previously been deemed to be the exclusive province of special education “due process” hearing…

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Latest Developments from the Connecticut General Assembly: The Labor and Public Employees Committee Has Spoken

We earlier had written on Working Together about the proposed bills that the General Assembly’s Labor and Public Employees Committee voted favorably on and advanced out of committee at its February 21, 2017 and March 2, 2017 meetings. On March 9th, the Committee acted just ahead of its March 14, 2017 deadline and approved the…

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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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Governor Malloy Issues Executive Order On Transgender Students’ Use of Bathrooms in Public Schools

On Wednesday, President Trump’s administration decided to rescind, pending further review, the Obama administration’s federal guidance that requires transgender students receive access to the restrooms and locker rooms of their chosen gender identity. In response, Governor Malloy yesterday issued his own Executive Order that essentially renders the President’s action void in Connecticut and requires Connecticut’s…

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Undocumented Immigrants, The Schools And The Obligations To Cooperate With “ICE”

A lot of heat is emanating from Washington D.C. over enforcement of laws concerning “undocumented” immigrants. Especially controversial is the possibility of greater action by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement [“ICE”] bureau, including bureau agents making visits to the schools.  This battle has led to competing visions, with Governor Malloy and Commissioner Wentzell issuing…

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