Bridgeport Board of Education v. NAEG, Local RI-200: What is the Appropriate Punishment for Actual and Perceived Threats in the Workplace?

We have all been emotionally touched by the tragedies in Columbine and Sandy Hook, not to mention workplace shootings such as those at Hartford Distributors and the Connecticut Lottery.  In that context, employers (and especially school administrators) have been ever mindful of warning signs of potential violence.  However, these same actors must counterbalance the need…

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Does Your School District’s Job Application Properly Address Criminal History?

From time to time, there is media coverage about a teacher or other public school employee who has been charged with a serious crime that occurred outside the school environment. If this employee had previous convictions or pending charges at the time of hire, the school district that employed the individual will invariably face a…

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Employee Theft of Employer Documents—Protected Conduct in Opposition to Discrimination or Criminal Activity?

What happens to board of education employees who steal board documents to support a lawsuit against their employer?  In New Jersey, at least, they are criminally prosecuted.  In State V. Saavedra, Docket No. A-1449-12T4 (Dec. 24, 2013)(link), the New Jersey Appellate Division upheld the indictment of a North Bergen Board of Education [“Board”] employee who…

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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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State’s Motion to Dismiss CCJEF Case Denied

As the Connecticut Mirror recently reported, on December 4, 2013, Hartford Superior Court Judge Kevin G. Dubay denied a motion filed by the State to dismiss Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding, Inc. v. Rell, CV-05-405026-S.  As a result of Judge Dubay’s ruling, the litigation will continue and it at least tentatively appears that…

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What is the Difference Between FERPA and PPRA? Protecting Student Privacy and Confidential Education Records

Two important federal laws protect the privacy rights of all students: the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974, 20 U.S.C. 1232g, “FERPA” and Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment, 20 U.S.C. §1232h, “PPRA.”  Both of these laws create obligations that should be incorporated into a school district’s operational policies. FERPA makes student educational records…

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New Board Members’ Homework

It is that time of year when newly elected board of education members are settling in to their positions and starting to assume responsibility for overseeing their respective municipality’s public school district.  To help ease the process, recently elected school board members should take the time to become familiar with the following: • Board bylaws…

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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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Are School Tuition Payments Fair Game For Bankruptcy Trustees in Parents’ Personal Bankruptcy?

Parents who are forced to file for personal bankruptcy may be surprised to find that school tuition payments they made for their children years earlier could become the target of recovery by an aggressive bankruptcy trustee.  The theory of recovery in such cases is found in fraudulent transfer law, where all kinds of payments can…

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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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