Topic: Privacy

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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OSEP Speaks Again: Ensure Your Evaluations Address All Areas of Potential Concern

On October 22, 2016, the US Department of Education’s  Office of Special Education Programs (“OSEP”), via its latest informal guidance/opinion letter (“Letter to Carroll”), once again addressed whether, once a school district’s evaluation is complete and the parents communicate a desire for a child to be assessed in an area in which they have not previously…

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Half-Baked: Phillips Exeter, Sexual Assault, And A Recipe For Disaster

Considered one of the country’s most elite prep schools, Phillips Exeter Academy has recently joined the queue of prestigious private schools who have been accused of having ignored, suppressed, or minimized claims of sexual assault. A recent investigation by The Boston Globe’s Spotlight Team focused particular attention on a case in which a female student…

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Don’t Picture This: The FOIA And The Use Of Smartphones As A Substitute For Paying For Copies

Connecticut’s Freedom of Information Act [“FOIA”] generally permits public agencies to charge for copies (usually, $0.50/page) when complying with FOIA requests. One exception to this fee requirement is that an individual may engage in “self-help” and copy a public record through the use of a “hand-held scanner”. Connecticut General Statutes §1-212(g).  A “hand held scanner”…

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Foliage, Frost, Frozen Ponds and The FOIA (Part Three): Trying To Do The Right Thing Is A Good Thing Under The FOIA

In our latest posting on the Freedom of Information Act [“FOIA”], we confirm that the Freedom of Information Commission [“FOIC”] has a heart, and may sometimes forgive technical non-compliance by public agencies and their employees. Honesty and good faith = highly moral and good FOIA strategy I often preach that honesty, common sense and an…

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Foliage, Frost, Frozen Ponds And The FOIA (Part Two): Can You See My Notes (And Calendar)?

For those who still cannot get enough after my latest post on the Freedom of Information Act [“FOIA”], here are more nuggets from the Freedom of Information Commission [“FOIC”]. Today, we focus on written notes and calendar entries. When are personal notes FOIA-able? Generally, but not always, one’s own personal notes may be exempt from…

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