Recording Special Education Team Meetings: Three Reasons Why Your School District Should Have a Written Policy

The audio recording of special education team meetings [“PPTs”] by parents and advocates has become a relatively accepted and common practice.  Technically, school districts are only obligated to permit the recording of such meetings when doing so would enable the parent to effectively participate in the development of the student’s individualized education plan [“IEP”] or…

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Athletics For Disabled Students

In what seems a surprising move to many, particularly for the Obama Administration, the Department of Education Office of Civil Rights (“OCR”) has backed away from last year’s strong policy statement on access to extracurricular athletics for disabled students.  In a “Dear Colleague” Letter (“DCL”) issued on December 16, 2013, OCR announced that school districts…

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Transgender Students and Communal School Bathrooms: Doe V. Regional School Unit 26

How can Connecticut schools best accommodate transgender students? While it is fair to say that this is not the sort of question that most superintendents, college administrators and board of education members would have been asking themselves fifty, or even five, years ago, society has evolved, and, consequently, so have educators’ legal obligations.  According to…

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Separate and Unequal

Unlike people, not all schools are created equal. Anyone who doubts that need only review the results of the Civil Rights Data Collection [“CRDC”] for the 2011-2012 school year, which were released on March 21, 2014 by the United States Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights [“OCR”].   OCR uses the CRDC to gather information…

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Please Join Us At Pullman & Comley’s April 3rd “Strengthening Your Business With LGBT Diversity” Panel Discussion

On April 3rd, 2014, Pullman & Comley will host a panel discussion on how employers can strengthen their businesses through workplace diversity practices that promote Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (“LGBT”).  While many leading corporations throughout the country recognize employee diversity as a key part of their business strategies, LGBT professionals both in Connecticut and…

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OOPS and the FOIA, Part 2: Dacey v. Easton Board of Education and the Need For a Subcommittee to Comply With The FOIA

There are times where a public agency may get so caught up with solving an existing problem that it will lose sight of the need to comply fully with the Freedom of Information Act [“FOIA”] and thus create what could potentially be an even bigger problem.  In this vein, a recent Freedom of Information Commission…

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Feds Revive Efforts to Regulate Seclusion and Restraint

On February 12, 2014 the United States Senate’s Health, Education, Labor and Pensions [“HELP”] Committee released the results of its investigation into the use of restraint and seclusion in schools.  Entitled Dangerous Use of Seclusion and Restraints in School Remains Widespread and Difficult to Remedy:  A Review of Ten Cases,  the report contains a discussion…

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Oops and the FOIA, Part One; Kadri v. Groton Board of Education and Protections From the Accidental Disclosure of Attorney-Client Privileged Documents

What happens when your agency’s lawyer sends out a confidential letter that is somehow leaked? A relatively recent decision by the Freedom of Information Commission [“FOIC”] appears to indicate that all is not lost, as “inadvertent” or “unexplainable” releases of otherwise privileged communication from your attorney will not destroy the attorney-client privilege. The FOIC’s decision…

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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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