BAD IDEA: ATTORNEY’S FEES AND THE HIGH COST OF IGNORING STAY PUT IN M.R. & J.R. V. RIDLEY SCHOOL DISTRICT

A recent decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit calls to mind an automobile repair chain’s erstwhile slogan: “Pay me now, or pay me later,” although in this case, the more applicable variation would be:  “Pay now, or really, really pay later.”  In M.R. & J.R. v. Ridley School District,…

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STATE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION PROVIDES PROPOSED FINAL DRAFT OF GUIDELINES FOR EXPULSIONS AND ALTERNATIVE EDUCATION (Part 2)

“And thirdly, the code is more what you’d call “guidelines” than actual rules …” Captain Barbosa in Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl On September 5, 2017, the State Board of Education’s Legislative and Policy Development Committee presented a “final draft” of “Guidelines for Alternative Learning Environments.” The Guidelines, however, as…

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And who is going to pay for it? The State’s new draft guidelines for educating expelled students

In 2016, Connecticut’s General Assembly passed Public Act 16-147: AN ACT CONCERNING THE RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE JUVENILE JUSTICE POLICY AND OVERSIGHT COMMITTEE.  This Act made several changes to school discipline laws which were to take effect on August 15, 2017.  Most dramatically, the Act significantly increased the amount of instruction to be delivered to expelled…

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CLEAR AND CONVINCING: DOE V. JACKSON, DEVOS, AND THE FUTURE OF CAMPUS SEXUAL MISCONDUCT INVESTIGATIONS

  On September 7, 2017, Betsy DeVos, the Secretary of Education, announced that the United States Department of Education intended to revisit the “Dear Colleague” letter that the Department’s Office for Civil Rights, or “OCR,” issued on April 4, 2011. Although over the years OCR has issued a number of these often draconian Dear Colleague…

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HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL COACH DOES NOT HAVE THE RIGHT TO PRAY ON THE 50 YARD LINE AFTER THE GAME – LESSONS FROM THE NINTH CIRCUIT COURT OF APPEALS

Does a school district violate the First Amendment when it prohibits a football coach from kneeling on the fifty yard line and praying with students and members of the public at the end of each high school football game? The Ninth Circuit recently answered this question with a resounding “no” in Kennedy v. Bremerton School…

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Doggone: False Statements and Free Speech in Clemmons v. Guilford Technical Community College

Sometimes, the motivation for chronicling a court decision is not because it is particularly groundbreaking; rather, it can simply be a confluence of peculiar facts and a reiteration of relevant legal principles.  That is certainly true with Clemmons v. Guilford Technical Community College, a case arising out of the United States District Court for the…

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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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