Connecticut Education Law Blog

Connecticut Education Law Blog

Category Archives: Student Matters

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Protecting Student Privacy When Cloud Computing and Outsourcing School Student Record Functions to Third Parties

Posted in Regular Education, Student Matters
The way student records are created, accessed and stored is changing drastically increasing concerns about schools’ ability to protect student privacy as required under laws such as the Federal Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). Schools are shifting from a traditional paper model to the electronic creation, … Continue Reading

OCR Chief and DOJ Section Head Answer Tough Questions From School Attorneys At National Law Seminar

Posted in Regular Education, Student Matters
U.S. Department of Education, Office of Civil Rights (OCR) Chief Catherine Lhamon along with U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ)Education Opportunities Section head Anurima Bhargava attended the April 2014 School Law Seminar held in New Orleans and fielded questions from attending school attorneys who sought clarification of the Departments’ position related to harassment standards for student … Continue Reading

FERPA Amended to Grant Easier Access to Education Records by Child Welfare Agencies

Posted in Student Matters
Earlier this year, FERPA was amended to grant child welfare agency representatives, agency caseworkers, or a tribal organization access to the education records of children within their care and protection.  The new exemption was created in order to prevent delays and complications in the education of children in foster care.  Prior to the amendment, child … Continue Reading

New Legislation Decriminalizes Theft of School Accommodations for Non-Residency

Posted in Regular Education, Student Matters
Although rarely done, in the past few years, several Connecticut public school districts have been featured in the news for seeking criminal remedies against parents for theft of educational services.  Parents who allegedly enrolled and sent their child to a school located in a town or city other than the one where the child actually … Continue Reading

Gun Bill Includes Many New Requirements For School Boards

Posted in Constitutional Issues, Regular Education, Student Matters
While the other aspects of Connecticut’s new gun control law have received more notoriety, the new law included a number of provisions intended to improve school safety and security including the following:  Requires each school to have a safety committee; Requires each school to conduct a risk vulnerability assessment; Require each school to have a … Continue Reading

We Are All Newtown

Posted in Student Matters
Some of you may have noticed that this blog has gone somewhat silent in the last couple of months.  It’s not that there haven’t been developments in education law worthy of comment.  But business as usual has been difficult to reestablish.  Instead, we seem to be establishing a "new normal", much as I imagine schools in Colorado did in … Continue Reading

The Connecticut State Board of Education Adopts Long Awaited Definitions of Excused and Unexcused Student Absences for Truancy Reporting Purposes

Posted in Regular Education, Student Matters
On Wednesday, June 27, 2012, the Connecticut State Board of Education (CSBOE) adopted long awaited definitions of excused and unexcused student absences as required under Public Act 11-136, An Act Concerning Minor Revisions to the Education Statutes. The new definitions promise to promote consistency and reliability in the state’s data collection and reporting related to … Continue Reading

Who’s watching who? And who can review?

Posted in Constitutional Issues, Regular Education, Student Matters, Uncategorized
  School administrators frequently grapple with the treatment of video recordings. From Constitutional issues to concerns about education records, administrators need to be aware of how to use surveillance cameras appropriately and how to respond to requests for copies of those video recordings. As more and more districts are using video surveillance in schools, this issue promises … Continue Reading

Minnesota School District Enters Into Five Year Consent Degree with Department of Justice and the Office of Civil Rights in Resolution of Peer-on-Peer Harassment and Discrimination Claims Based Upon Sex and Sexual Orientation

Posted in Regular Education, Student Matters
The Anoka-Hennepin school district (District) in Minnesota recently entered into a five year consent decree with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the U.S. Dept. of Education, Office of Civil Rights (OCR) to resolve two separate actions brought by six current or former district students alleging peer-on-peer harassment and discrimination based upon sex and … Continue Reading

Supreme Court Declines to Hear Student Off-Campus Online Speech Cases

Posted in Constitutional Issues, Regular Education, Student Matters
As you may recall from our previous posts regarding student’s online speech, the summer of 2011 brought with it a split in the Circuit Courts regarding how to handle discipline of student’s off-campus online  speech.  Specifically, the cases J.S. v. Blue Mountain Sch. Dist. and Layshock v. Hermitage Sch. Dist. out of the Third Circuit and Kowalski v. Berkeley County Schools … Continue Reading

FCC Issues Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) Rule Revisions Adding New Requirements for School Districts’ Internet Safety Policies

Posted in Regular Education, Student Matters
This month, the FCC released long awaited Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) rule revisions. CIPA is a federal law enacted by Congress to address concerns about access to offensive, obscene or harmful content by minors over the Internet on school and library computers. In early 2001, the FCC issued rules implementing CIPA.  FCC recently released … Continue Reading

8th Circuit Says Disciplining Student for Off-Campus Online Speech Containing True Threats Does Not Violate Student’s Free Speech Rights

Posted in Student Matters
Here we go again. Only a few days after the 4th Circuit issued its decision Kowalski v. Berkley County Sch., the 8th Circuit has now become the latest court to recently weigh in on the issue of whether a school district’s discipline of off-campus online speech violates a student’s free speech rights under the First Amendment. As … Continue Reading

Circuit Courts Continue Battle Over Free Speech Rights for Students

Posted in Constitutional Issues, Regular Education, Student Matters
School districts in Connecticut looking for guidance on how to handle discipline of students engaging in provocative speech on-line at home have been watching with interest the outcome of two cases in the Third Circuit that seemed to reach conflicting results.  Both cases were re-heard by the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, sitting en banc, … Continue Reading

New Anti-Bullying Statute Goes Into Effect Today

Posted in Student Matters
If you haven’t already, be sure to get a copy of Substitute Bill 1138, Public Act 11-232, effective July 1, 2011, which makes sweeping changes to the State’s anti-bullying statute applicable to public school districts.  The new law adds specific prohibitions against cyber-bullying, redefines "bullying" for purposes of the statute, and requires school districts to … Continue Reading

Medication Administration Regulations Amended

Posted in Student Matters
This fall, Connecticut  revised the regulations implementing those provisions of Section 10-212a of the General Statutes concerning administration of medications in school by school personnel. The revised regulations require school districts to develop and implement policies and procedures dictating which school personnel authorized by the statutes will have actual authority in the district to administer … Continue Reading

Bullying Not Just a Problem Among Students Anymore

Posted in Labor and Employment, Regular Education, Student Matters
In an opinion by the Honorable Superior Court Judge Henry S. Cohn, the Connecticut Superior Court dismissed the appeal of a teacher whose name was placed on the child abuse and neglect registry after a Department of Children and Families (“DCF”) hearing officer determined, pursuant to Conn. Gen. Stat. § 17a-101g (b), that the teacher … Continue Reading

Bullying Case Permitted to Proceed to Trial

Posted in Regular Education, Student Matters
In a decision issued in September 2008, a Connecticut Superior Court judge ruled in the case of Dornfried v. Berlin Board of Education, that there is no private right of action under Connecticut’s anti-bullying statute.  In Dornfried, a high school student and his parents sued the principal, athletic director, and head football coach, claiming that … Continue Reading

New Jersey’s Division of Civil Rights Finds Probable Cause For a Student Complaint Alleging Hostile School Environment Based Upon Bias-based Peer Harassment

Posted in Regular Education, Student Matters
The New Jersey Division of Civil Rights (NJDCR) recently announced a finding of probable cause in the discrimination complaint filed by the parent of a middle school student claiming that her son was subjected to a hostile school environment based upon harassment by his peers for his perceived sexual orientation and religion. What makes this … Continue Reading

School District’s Suspicionless Sweeps of School Parking Lots and Unattended Lockers Using Sniffer Dogs Upheld As Constitutional by Connecticut Superior Court

Posted in Constitutional Issues, Regular Education, Student Matters
The Connecticut Superior Court in Burbank v. Canton Bd. Of Education,  2009 WL 3366272 (Conn. Super. 9/14/09)  ruled against parents and students who sought to prohibit the Canton Public School District from continuing its practice of using local police to conduct suspicionless sweeps of parking lots and unattended lockers at its middle and high schools … Continue Reading

When Is a Step-Parent a Parent for Purposes of Disclosing Educational Records?

Posted in Student Matters
An April 15, 2009 letter from the Family Policy Compliance Office (FPCO) addresses a complaint filed by a parent indicating that the school improperly disclosed the student’s private educational information to a step-parent and grandparent during a meeting at school.  If the child’s father has parental rights and permitted the disclosure to the step-mother and … Continue Reading

“Surprising New Legislation Delays the Implementation Date for Connecticut’s In School Suspension Law to July 1, 2010″

Posted in Regular Education, Student Matters
On October 5, 2009, Governor Rell signed Senate Bill 2053, An Act Implementing the Provisions of the Budget Concerning Education, Authorizing State Grant Commitments for School Building Projects, and Making Changes to the Statutes Concerning Building Projects and Other Education Statutes. Section 56 of this bill addresses CGS 10-233c, Connecticut’s student suspension law. CGS 10-233c … Continue Reading

Connecticut School Districts Must Implement New Suspension Law for the 2009-2010 School Year

Posted in Regular Education, Student Matters
As readers may recall, PA 07-66 created new standards for student suspensions in Connecticut requiring that student suspensions pursuant to 10-233c be in-school suspensions, unless the administration determines that the pupil being suspended poses such a danger to persons or property or such a disruption of the educational process that the pupil should be excluded … Continue Reading
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