Topic: U.S. Department of Education

CLEAR AND CONVINCING: DOE V. JACKSON, DEVOS, AND THE FUTURE OF CAMPUS SEXUAL MISCONDUCT INVESTIGATIONS

  On September 7, 2017, Betsy DeVos, the Secretary of Education, announced that the United States Department of Education intended to revisit the “Dear Colleague” letter that the Department’s Office for Civil Rights, or “OCR,” issued on April 4, 2011. Although over the years OCR has issued a number of these often draconian Dear Colleague…

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Canary in a Coal Mine: Analyzing Title IX, OCR, and On-Campus Sexual Misconduct Adjudications in Plummer v. University of Houston

It is unusual for a dissenting opinion to be more noteworthy than the majority’s holding, yet that is the case in Plummer v. University of Houston, a decision recently handed down by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.  Except for the unsavory facts upon which the decision is based and Judge…

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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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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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Flushed: Supreme Court Vacates Fourth Circuit’s Title IX Transgender Bathroom Decision in Gloucester County v. G.G.

In a not particularly surprising development, on March 6, 2017, the United States Supreme Court vacated the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit’s judgment in the controversial case of Gloucester County School Board v. G.G. and remanded it to the Fourth Circuit for further consideration. Click here to read the order.  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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Making Different Choices: Navigating University Grievance Procedures Under Title IX in MOORE v. TEMPLE UNIVERSITY

A recent decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit in Moore v. Temple University serves as a cautionary lesson for those seeking to pursue an action under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.  More specifically, the Third Circuit affirmed the trial court’s entry of summary judgment in favor…

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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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