On Friday, September 22, 2017, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) issued a Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) and Q&A on Campus Sexual Misconduct. The DCL withdrew the 2011 DCL on Sexual Violence and the 2014 Q&A on Title IX and Sexual Violence issued by the previous administration. In the DCL, Candice Jackson, Acting Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights stated, “[t]he 2011 and 2014 guidance documents may have been well-intentioned, but those documents have led to the deprivation of rights for many students-both accused students denied fair process and victims denied an adequate resolution of their complaints.” The Acting Assistant Secretary went on to state that the 2011 and 2014 guidance documents imposed regulatory burdens without affording notice and the opportunity for public comments.

Continue Reading OCR Withdraws Sexual Violence Guidance Issued by Previous Administration

The United States Education and Justice Departments recently released companion Dear Colleague Letters providing guidance on implementing School Resource Officers (“SROs”). In those letters, the Departments explained how school districts should use memoranda of understanding (“MOUs”) with local law enforcement agencies in order to clarify their expectations for SROs. Among other things, the MOUs should require training for officers working in schools and should explicitly state that their proper role is not to administer day-to-day discipline. This guidance comes in response to media scrutiny on situations involving SROs, like the infamous case last year in which a video of a sheriff’s deputy throwing a high school student out of her chair attracted nationwide attention. Continue Reading Dept. of Ed. and DOJ Provide Guidance on SRO Implementation

drug and gun free zoneAs the 2016-2017 school year begins, school administrators across the country brace themselves for the host of issues that every new school year brings. In recent years, a new issue has been added to this list of school district worries: guns on campus.

Spurred by tragedies like Columbine, Newtown and other school shootings, gun legislation has captured news headlines and divided legislatures. In contrast to the expansive federal Gun Free Schools legislation passed in the 1990s, more states are now debating—and sometimes passing—laws that allow “open carry” in certain public places or that also expand the areas in which permit holders may carry concealed weapons. Continue Reading Pack to School? A Quick Overview of Gun Laws That Affect K-12 Schools