Connecticut Education Law Blog

Connecticut Education Law Blog

Category Archives: Regular Education

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Changes to Student Discipline Laws Usher in New School Board Duties to Expelled Students

Posted in Regular Education
In 2016, the Connecticut General Assembly passed Public Act 16-147, which ushered in a series of changes regarding public school student discipline and expulsions.  Among its many notable provisions, the new law created changes to a Board of Education’s duty to offer an alternative educational opportunity to expelled students. At present, Connecticut law provides that… Continue Reading

OCR Publications Clarify District Obligations to Student with ADHD under Section 504

Posted in Regular Education, Special Education
School is back in session once again, and districts are confronting the perennial challenge of educating students with a multitude of physical, cognitive and behavioral limitations. Among these conditions, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) stands out in both its ubiquity and its potential to thrust parents and school districts into conflict over appropriate educational programming.… Continue Reading

U.S. Department of Education Tackles Discrimination of Refugees

Posted in Regular Education
On December 31, 2015, the Department of Education issued a Dear Colleague Letter before the beginning of the new year to remind schools of the importance of providing a discrimination free learning environment. The letter specifically focused on discrimination and harassment in schools based on race, religion, and national origin in light of the large… Continue Reading

New Special Legislation Requires Principals To Certify DCF Training Has Occurred and Increases Penalties For Failing To Report Suspected Abuse

Posted in Regular Education, Student Matters
School employees who fail to report child abuse may face tougher penalties for failing to report such incidents to DCF or the police as a result of a law passed by the General Assembly. Public Act 15-205, An Act Protecting School Children, increases, from a class A misdemeanor to a class E felony, the penalty… Continue Reading

Superintendent of Schools’ Newsletter Regarding Budget Referendum Did Not Violate Election Laws

Posted in Regular Education
A Superior Court Judge recently held that a superintendents’ newsletter sent to parents which discussed a referendum does not violate Connecticut General Statutes §9-369b if the referendum has not yet been scheduled to take place.  In this case a complaint was filed alleging that the Bethel superintendent of schools used municipal funds to distribute a… Continue Reading

Failure to Train Staff Properly and to Take Prompt and Effective Action Costs Michigan School District Dearly in Federal Title IX Peer-on –Peer Sexual Assault Case

Posted in Regular Education
Michigan Forest Hills School District reached a $600,000 settlement with a female student who sued the district in federal court alleging that she was sexually assaulted in her school’s band room by a male classmate, MM.  The female identified as Jane Doe was a 15 year old sophomore at the time of the assault and… Continue Reading

Posting Class Lists: is that a FERPA violation?

Posted in Regular Education
With the start of the 2014-2015 school year upon us, schools routinely post the class assignments in the public domain enabling other students and/or parents access to this information.  Many parents have expressed concern that such posting before the first day of class of the student’s name, room number, and the names of the students… Continue Reading

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

Snow Days and E-Learning

Posted in Regular Education
As this year’s snow-filled winter continues in Connecticut, so too do school cancellations for districts across the state. While students may enjoy the instant gratification that a snow day brings, few are as excited in June when make-up days must be added to the school calendar. Disruptions in the class schedule also impact teachers and… 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

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

Judge Blocks Missouri Facebook Law

Posted in Regular Education
On August 2 we posted an article about a new law set to go into effect in Missouri prohibiting on-line communications between teachers and students that seemed to have some potentially problematic language in it. Late last week a Missouri judge issued an injunction preventing the new law from going into effect.  Apparently, the law… Continue Reading

Missouri Says No Teacher Student Facebook Friendships

Posted in Regular Education
As school districts puzzle over what sort of rules and prohibitions should be included in board policies addressing teachers’ use of social networking sites, one state’s legislature has stepped into the breach. In Senate Bill 54, also known as the Amy Hestir Student Protection Act, Missouri effectively became the first state to ban exclusive communications between teachers and students on… 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

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