The Road Not Taken

What is not alleged in a lawsuit can, paradoxically, sometimes serve as more of a cautionary note than what is, for its very absence brings it prominence.  Such is the case with Saliba v. Five Towns College, 2014 WL 92690 (E.D.N.Y.  Jan. 10, 2014), in which the plaintiff, a former Assistant Professor of English, claimed…

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Connecticut State Department of Education Due Process Hearing Decisions for the 2013 Calendar Year: A Summary

During 2013, the State Department of Education handled approximately 239 requests for due process hearings to resolve issues with student special education programs. Of those requests, only a small minority were resolved by a decision of a hearing officer after a full hearing on the merits, available online at: http://www.sde.ct.gov/sde/cwp/view.asp?a=2626&q=320712. The 2013 decisions are summarized…

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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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School District’s Refusal to Release Bullying Investigation Report Upheld

While the Freedom of Information Act [“FOIA”] generally seeks to provide access to records created by public agencies, and while anti-bullying laws require that parents be notified by a school district with regard  to the district’s response to bullying complaints, federal laws protecting the privacy rights of students provide a countervailing block to unfettered access…

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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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“Found (Fined?) in America”

In the 1985 film “Lost in America,” starring the comedian Albert Brooks, a high flying advertising executive loses his job and finds himself (after several mishaps) broke and working as a school crossing guard – his only revenue stream. It appears Mr. Brooks isn’t the only one to appreciate the potential revenue stream from school…

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Mirabilio v. Regional School District 16: Reduction in Hours v. Termination of Employment

In these fiscal times, school districts are confronted with difficult choices in restructuring their teaching workforce, with districts often having to consider the elimination of teaching positions.  A recent court case reminds us all that there is a middle ground, namely, the reduction of hours of teachers In Mirabilio v. Regional School District 16, 2013…

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Common Core Testing Opt-Out…..Is it Legal?

Connecticut’s roll-out of the Common Core State Standards has been, to put it mildly, controversial.  Critics of Common Core have decried what they perceive as the loss of local pedagogical control in favor of state and federal “Big Brotherism”.  Another sore spot is Common Core’s supposed emphasis on non-fiction texts over the tried and true…

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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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