In light of ever-increasing use (and abuse) of social media, school district personnel must be mindful of the rights and responsibilities—of students and of the school districts themselves—that come with this technology.

Interested in learning more about these rights and responsibilities?  If you are a Husch Blackwell client or a member of the Council of the Great City Schools, join us next Tuesday, May 22, at 2:30 Eastern Daylight Time for a complimentary continuing legal education webinar.  Click here to register. Continue Reading Student Use of Social Media: Rights and Responsibilities

The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) is a federal law that gives parents, students over 18, and postsecondary students the right to access education records, the right to seek to amend those records, and the right to consent to disclosure of personally identifiable information in the records, except as provided by law. The authors of this post recently presented on this topic as part of the webinar series for clients and members of the Council of Great City SchoolsContinue Reading Privacy, Please: FERPA Issues Impacting K-12 Public Schools

An application for writ of certiorari in the United States Supreme Court was recently filed by Plaintiff Lee-Walker in, Jeena Lee-Walker v. N.Y.C. Dep’t of Educ. et al. Plaintiff teacher filed a lawsuit against her previous employer, the New York City Department of Education, alleging that the district retaliated against her in violation of her First Amendment and due process rights.

Continue Reading Jeena Lee-Walker v. N.Y.C. Dep’t of Educ. et al.: Book Banning and the First Amendment

On October 20, 2017, the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services (OSERS) within the U.S. Department of Education rescinded 72 education policy guidance documents.  Sixty-three of the documents are from the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), which administers the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and provides guidance to states and local governments on how to provide free and appropriate public education to children with disabilities.  The remaining nine documents are from the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA), which assists individuals with disabilities in employment, independence, and community integration matters.  The OSEP documents concern topics including special education funding, due process procedures, private school placements, and more.  By contrast, the RSA documents primarily concern employment issues and centers of independent living for adults with disabilities. Continue Reading Special Education “Clean Up” from ED: Trump Administration Rescinds 72 Special Education Guidance Documents

On December 7, 2017, the U.S. Department of Education (ED) released a question-and-answer document on the Supreme Court’s 2017 opinion in Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District, 580 U.S., 137 S.Ct. 988 (2017) (“Endrew”).  Endrew addressed the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) clarifying the scope of a free appropriate public education (FAPE). The Supreme Court held that in order for a school to meet its substantive obligation under IDEA, it must offer an individualized education plan (IEP) “reasonably calculated to enable a child to make progress appropriate in light of the child’s circumstances.” Continue Reading Department of Education Releases Guidance on IDEA, FAPE, and Endrew F.

The Supreme Court recently lost an opportunity to address important issues affecting transgender students.  On August 25, 2017, the Kenosha Unified School District filed a petition for certiorari after the Seventh Circuit affirmed a Wisconsin District Court’s decision granting a transgender student a preliminary injunction to use the bathroom that corresponds with his gender identity, rather than his biological sex. Continue Reading Supreme Court Not Likely to Rule this Term on Issues Affecting Transgender Students’ Access to Restrooms that Correspond with their Gender Identity

In light of shifting federal guidance and heightened awareness of sexual harassment, school districts should be on high alert with respect to their internal Title IX policies, staff, and training.  Otherwise, they may face complaints with the Department of Education or litigation surrounding the incidents of alleged sex or gender discrimination, sexual harassment, or interpersonal violence. Continue Reading Feeling the Shift in Title IX’s Landscape: Internal Policies and Procedures, OCR Investigations, and Litigation

On October 30, 2017, a national, Washington-based civil rights group, the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, issued a reminder to state attorneys general that all students, regardless of immigration status, have the constitutional right to enroll in K-12 public schools. Continue Reading New Initiative to Ensure Access to Education for Immigrant Children

October is National Bullying Prevention Month, and a brighter light is being shed on bullying-related suicide. Bullying-related suicide can be connected to any type of bullying, including physical and emotional bullying, cyberbullying, and sexting (circulating suggestive or nude photos or messages about a person). The Centers for Disease Control (“CDC”) recently released a resource, Preventing Suicide: A Technical Package of Policy, Programs, and Practices, for guidance and strategies to prevent suicide. Continue Reading CDC Releases Guidance for Schools to Prevent Suicide

On October 4, 2017, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) agreed to drop its lawsuit against the state of Illinois over education funding distribution. The lawsuit was voluntarily dismissed by CPS without prejudice, meaning that CPS could still choose to re-file the case at a later date. Filed on February 14, 2017, by five families, the suit claimed that Illinois had violated the civil rights of students by distributing fewer funds to Chicago public schools than other public districts across the state. CPS alleged that only 76 cents were spent on Chicago students for every dollar spent on children in public schools outside of the city leading to a $500 million funding gap for Chicago public schools.

Continue Reading Lawsuits as Leverage: Chicago Public Schools Drop Lawsuit Against Illinois After Legislators Reach a Deal on Education Funding