Liability for field trips: Munn v. Hotchkiss and ticks, Costa v. Plainville and basketball, and are there really any new obligations for public schools?

Last Friday (August 11, 2017), the Connecticut Supreme Court issued a decision garnering significant press attention in which it ruled that 1) Connecticut public policy imposes a duty upon schools to warn or protect against the risk of serious insect-borne disease when organizing trips abroad, and 2) a $41.5 million jury verdict with respect to…

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When Can Schools Ban a Parent or a Third Party from School Property and School Events?

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals recently addressed the issue of whether a school district can ban a parent from school property during the school day and/or during on-site sporting events based on the parent’s prior conduct.  The Court found that a principal had the right to ban an unruly parent from school property during the…

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Pullman & Comley 2017 “interim” legislative summary for schools

The Connecticut General Assembly enacted a number of laws during its 2017 regular session that will impact Connecticut schools. Among other things, bills have been enacted that: (1) “repeal and replace” last year’s radical enhancement of the alternative educational opportunity offered to students who are expelled from schools and that was supposed to take effect…

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Stick to the Script: The Consequences of Mishandling Sexual Misconduct Investigations in Doe v. Skidmore College

It would seem fairly self-evident that when a college or university establishes procedures for handling sexual misconduct claims, it should actually follow them.  That, however, was not the case in Matter of John Doe v. Skidmore College, a recently issued decision by the State of New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division.  Given what it termed…

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Make Sure Your Mandatory Reporting Policies And Trainings Are Up To Date

Now that summer is half-way over, it’s time to make sure that your district is on track to be compliant at the start of the new school year with up-to-date policies on mandated reporting and by ensuring that you have planned for the required training on mandatory reporting and on sexual abuse and assault awareness…

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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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IDEA Exhaustion is Alive and Well: Applying Fry in Graham v. Friedlander

A Connecticut Superior Court judge has issued what might be the first decision in the country applying the United States Supreme Court’s recent test for determining whether a party is required to exhaust the administrative remedies available under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act of 2004 [“IDEA”]. The case of Graham, et al. v.…

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Violation of Stay-Put Provisions Under the IDEA Can Be Costly

In what appears to be the first case of its kind within the Second Circuit, a United States District Court Judge within the District of Connecticut has crafted an order of over $200,000 in compensatory damages for a school board’s violation of the stay-put provisions of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act [“IDEA”]. More specifically,…

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Not NORML: Blunt Speech in Gerlich v. Leath

A recent decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit serves as a cautionary reminder that once an educational institution creates a limited public forum for speech, it cannot then pick and choose which speech it will permit. The Eighth Circuit’s decision in Gerlich v Leath arose from Iowa State University’s attempt…

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Rebel Without A Stall: Title IX, Transgender Student Rights and Whitaker v. Kenosha

When the Trump Administration short-circuited the United States Supreme Court’s review of Gloucester v. G.G., in which the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit had held that Title IX’s protections extend to transgender students, it seemed that transgender students’ rights were on life support.  Like Jarvis Lorry in Charles Dickens’ Tale of…

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