Education

The Second District Appellate Court recently affirmed a Winnebago County Court’s decision denying civil penalties against the State’s Attorney for failure to comply with plaintiff’s FOIA request. The Second District’s opinion in Williams v. Bruscato, 2021 IL App (2d) 190971 (July 21, 2021) further clarified when civil penalties can be imposed on public bodies that fail to comply with a FOIA request. The plaintiff, Marvin Williams, filed a complaint alleging that the State’s Attorney violated FOIA when it denied all three of his requests for grand jury records concerning criminal charges against him. The trial court agreed with the State’s…
Plaintiff fell in a pothole and was injured while crossing a service drive next to her home and so sued the City of Chicago. The City’s Tort Immunity Act motion for summary judgment was affirmed on appeal. Crespo-Fregoso v. City of Chicago, 2021 IL App (1st) 200972 (August 9, 2021). The Local Governmental and Governmental Employees Tort Immunity Act provides that “a local public entity has the duty to exercise ordinary care to maintain its property in a reasonably safe condition for the use in the exercise of ordinary care of people whom the entity intended and permitted to use…
Welcome to the 2021-2022 school year. As the new year gets underway, the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) within the Department of Education advised states and districts that it will be providing a series of guidance documents addressing “school reopening efforts and intended to support the full implementation of IDEA requirements.” The letter emphasizes and reiterates the guidance provided throughout 2020 that no IDEA requirements were waived and that, regardless of the instructional delivery approach, districts remain responsible for ensuring that a free appropriate public education (FAPE) is available to all children with disabilities. The first guidance
Tressler attorneys are speaking at the Illinois Municipal League’s 108th Annual Conference on September 23-25, 2021 at the Hilton Chicago. Please click here to register. We look forward to seeing you there! When: September 23-25, 2021 Where: Hilton Chicago, 720 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60605 Presentations: Navigating a Harassment/Discrimination Free Workplace Speakers: Darcy L. Proctor, Elizabeth F. Wagman and Kathleen M. Gibbons Date: Thursday, September 23th, Continental B&C, lobby level Time: 10:10am CST This session focuses on preventing, responding to and defending against harassment and discrimination claims that arise in the workplace. The interactive presentation will take audience…
Welcome to the 2021-2022 school year! As we begin, special education leaders should take note of several new laws recently signed by the Governor. We have been talking a lot about HB 40 and HB 2748, which extend transition services for students who turn 22. But several others also deserve our attention, including new laws that limit the use of time out and physical restraint, require districts to ensure their websites and remote learning platforms are accessible to people with disabilities, require IEP teams to provide PUNS information to families at annual reviews, require the consideration of in-State residential programs,…
We are pleased to invite you to our upcoming virtual Tressler Talk: Reconsidering Student Discipline and the Role of Restorative Justice Practices Thursday, August 5, 20211:00-2:00pm CT Join us for this complimentary webinar to learn about the history of student discipline in the school setting, the current state of student discipline and expectations for the 2021-2022 school year, including the role of restorative practices.This presentation will combine the legal insight of Tressler education attorneys Elizabeth Wagman, Kathleen Gibbons and Darcy Proctor with the renowned restorative justice experience of Dr. Robert Spicer. Participants will come away from this engaging presentation understanding…
On July 26, 2021, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and Office for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) issued a Factsheet explaining the potential for students who have been infected with COVID-19 to experience new, returning, or ongoing post-COVID health problems that may qualify as a disability under Section 504 or the IDEA. The Factsheet reinforces the need to follow standard Section 504 and IDEA procedures related to child find, evaluations, eligibility, and services and modifications for such students. The challenges of the last year and a half have led to a variety of health, academic, and social/emotional difficulties…
Earlier this summer, we let you know about two special education bills that had passed the Illinois legislature, which, if signed by the Governor, would provide additional services to some transition students. These bills have both been signed by the Governor, and ISBE has issued an FAQ to address the many questions from the field on how these laws will work in practice.      Public Act 102-0172 (HB 40)  PA 102-72 (HB 40) amends Section 14-1.02 of the School Code, extending eligibility to the end of the regular school year for students whose 22nd birthday falls within a regular school term. “Regular school term”…
John Kluge, a former music and orchestra teacher at Brownsburg Community School Corporation (“BCSC”) allegedly was forced to resign after refusing to refer to transgender students by the names selected by the students, their parents, and their healthcare providers due to the teacher’s religious objections. Kluge identified as Christian and claimed that referring to students by their preferred names would “encourage students in transgenderism” and “promote gender dysphoria,” which went against his religious beliefs that “God created mankind as either male or female.” Initially, BCSC provided Kluge with the option of referring to students using only their last names, but…
On June 23, 2020, in an 8-1 decision, the Supreme Court ruled that the Mahanoy Area School District’s decision to suspend a student from the cheerleading team for posting vulgar language and gestures on social media (outside of school hours and away from the school’s campus) violated the First Amendment. Background Mahanoy Area School District v. B.L began in 2017, when 14-year old plaintiff Brandi Levy did not make her public school’s varsity cheerleading team. Levy expressed her disappointment on Snapchat by posting a photo where she had her middle finger raised with expletives commenting on the decision. Coaches saw…
In a decision earlier last week, in Mahanoy Area School District v. B.L., the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a student cheerleader’s off-campus F-bombs about her school is protected speech under the First Amendment. The speech involved a series of F-bombs issued in 2017 on Snapchat by Brandi Levy, then a 14-year-old cheerleader, who failed to make the varsity cheer team at her Pennsylvania School. In response, Levy posted a photo of herself and a friend flipping the bird to the camera, along with a message that said, “F***the school, F***cheer, F***everything.” The posts were made on Levy’s personal cell…
You just received a letter from your child’s school claiming your child is not a district resident and threatening to disenroll him or her. The letter informs you of your right to a hearing. You want the hearing, but question whether you really need an attorney. It cannot be stressed enough that parents who go to hearing unprepared are overwhelmingly likely to lose and to undermine their chances on appeal. This is true even if you have an attorney, but that attorney does not understand the basics of school residency. To prove residency, you must have physical presence in the…
In this immediate post-COVID-19 education landscape in which schools are contemplating a full return to in-person instruction, schools are also grappling with the stark realities of achievement gaps and the disproportionate impacts that the pandemic and remote learning had on various student populations. In response to President Biden’s Executive Order calling for the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights in the Department of Education to deliver a report on the disparate impacts of COVID-19 on students in elementary, secondary, and higher education, the Department’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) published this Report. The introduction to the Report states that “Although…
On June 11, 2021, the State of Illinois officially moved into Phase 5 of the Restore Illinois Plan. This means that all businesses, large-scale events, conventions, amusement parks, seated spectator events and more can resume operating at full capacity. Additionally, in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there is no longer an outdoor mask requirement and the Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) guidance that has been governing business operations throughout the pandemic is discontinued, allowing businesses to return to their normal business practices. Per the Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) Phase 5 Guidance for Businesses and
On May 30, 2021, SB1577 passed both houses and, if signed by the Governor, will amend the School Code to reflect that the mental or behavioral health of a student is a “valid cause” for absence from school. Currently, valid exemptions recognized for school-age children to be absent include but are not limited to illness, religious holidays, death in the immediate family, and family emergencies. Additionally, in January 2019, “other circumstances which cause reasonable concern to the parent for the mental, emotional, or physical health or safety of the student” was added. The most recent amendment would allow parents to…
Just hours before the conclusion of the spring legislative session, the Illinois General Assembly passed two bills that will significantly impact students who receive services until age 22.  The first, HB40, impacts students who turn 22 during the school year by allowing them to continue to receive special education services until the end of that school year rather than until the day before their 22nd birthday. This is a change we have been anticipating for some time, and will take effect upon the Governor’s signature.    The second, HB 2748, titled “COVID-19 post-secondary transition recovery eligibility,” provides an extended period of IEP services for students who turned 22 “during the time in…