Latest from K-12 Legal Insights - Page 2

With the 2019-2020 school year beginning, school personnel must be mindful of changes in the law and best practices related to student health and safety. Interested in learning more? Join us next Tuesday, August 27, 2019, at 12:00pm central time for a complimentary continuing legal education webinar. Register here. VaccinationsOne of the issues we will discuss is vaccinations. Every state has law mandating vaccines for students, but every state also has at least one exemption to mandatory vaccines. The majority of recent vaccination cases arise from challenges to the religious, philosophical, or personal belief exemptions. Schools in each state should stay up-to-date on the…
The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to decide whether a federal law prohibiting employers from discriminating because of sex also protects LGBTQ individuals. Background of Pending Cases Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers from discriminating against an individual “because of” that individual’s “race, color, religion, sex, or national origin.” In two consolidated cases—Bostock v. Clayton County and Zarda v. Altitude Express—the Court will decide whether Title VII’s ban on “sex” discrimination also prohibits employment discrimination based on an individual’s sexual orientation. And in a third case—R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes v.
On April 23, 2019, the Supreme Court of the United States heard oral argument in Department of Commerce v. New York, No. 18-966.  The argument focused on three main issues: (1) whether the District Court erred in enjoining the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce from reinstating a question about citizenship to the 2020 decennial census on the ground that the secretary’s decision violated the Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. 701 et seq; (2) whether, in an action seeking to set aside agency action under the APA, a district court may order discovery outside the administrative record to probe…
The United States Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) has made opioid overdoses a priority.  HHS initiatives include educating doctors about being more careful in prescribing painkillers.  The Alabama Department of Education and Department of Public Health took that one step further and recently announced a new educational program designed to reduce deaths caused by opioids.  The new, statewide program will provide Alabama high schools with access to Naloxone, the opioid-overdose reversal drug.  This program is the first in the United States to train school administrators, coaches, and teachers in how to use this life-saving drug.  Prior to this…
In February 2019, the U.S. Department of Education released new Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”) guidance about schools’ and school districts’ responsibilities under FERPA relating to disclosures of student information to school resource officers, law enforcement units, and other stakeholders to explain and clarify how FERPA protects student privacy while ensuring the health and safety of all in the school community.  See: https://studentprivacy.ed.gov/sites/default/files/resource_document/file/SRO_FAQs_2-5-19_0.pdf. FERPA permits schools and districts to disclose education records (and the personally identifiable information (“PII”) contained in those records) without consent if the “school officials” have “legitimate educational interests” in the education records.  Each…
On February 26, 2019, the Supreme Court of Missouri issued an en banc opinion in R.M.A. v. Blue Springs Sch. Dist., No. SC96683.  The court held that a transgender student who was barred from using the boys’ locker room had stated a valid cause of action for sex discrimination in violation of the Missouri Human Rights Act (“MHRA”). R.M.A., a female to male transgender student, attended school in Blue Springs R-IV School District (“BSSD”).  R.M.A. filed a charge of discrimination with the Missouri Commission on Human Rights (“MCHR”) in October 2014 alleging discrimination in a public accommodation based on sex. …
Following the school shootings at Marjory Stoneman and Santa Fe High Schools, President Trump established an executive Commission on School Safety. The Commission’s members were Betsy DeVos, U.S. Secretary of Education, Kirstjen Nelson, Secretary of Homeland Security, Alex Azar II, Secretary of Health and Human Services, and Matthew Whitaker, Acting Attorney General. The Commission was charged with producing policy recommendations in an effort to help prevent future tragedies. After conducting field visits, listening sessions, and meeting with state and local leaders, the Commission issued a report calling for, among other things, “more threads of love, empathy, and connection” in our…
On the one year anniversary of the lives lost in the Parkland, Florida school shooting, our thoughts go out to the families, friends and all those impacted by last year’s tragedy. School safety is a top priority and Husch Blackwell’s Education team is hosting a School Safety Symposium featuring guest speaker , former FBI agent, who specializes in threat responses and assessment. Learn more and register here: https://lnkd.in/eWwjiH7…
On January 7, 2019, the Supreme Court of the United States denied certiorari in Ferguson-Florissant School District v. Missouri Conference of NAACP.  This case involves the Ferguson-Florissant School District (“FFSD”), a St. Louis area school district created after a 1975 desegregation order required the original FFSD to annex two neighboring school districts “to achieve a meaningful desegregation” within one unified district. United States v. Missouri, 515 F.2d 1365, 1366 (8th Cir. 1975) (en banc). This lawsuit challenged FFSD’s method of electing school board members. The suit alleged that the at-large, popular vote, system, in which people only vote once for…
The Department of Education (“ED” or the “Department”) issued its long-awaited Notice of Proposed Rulemaking[1] to amend regulations implementing Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (“Title IX”) on November 29, 2018. Comments to the proposed regulation are due on or before January 30, 2019. Here are ten notice requirements the proposed regulation would impose on elementary and secondary schools if they become final. Notice of a Formal Complaint (Section 106.45(b)(2)) “Upon receipt of a formal complaint,” a school must provide written notice to the parties of the recipient’s grievance procedures and of the allegations. This notice: must…
The Department of Education (“ED” or the “Department”) issued its long-awaited Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to amend regulations implementing Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (“Title IX”) on November 29, 2018. As the Department has acknowledged, the proposed rules would adopt standards that significantly depart from those set forth in prior ED regulations and guidance under Title IX. Although much of the debate regarding the proposed rules has focused on institutions of higher education’s treatment of sexual harassment, the proposed rules also would significantly impact elementary and secondary schools. Husch Blackwell’s education team offers the following overview of…
In light of the 2017-2018 U.S. Supreme Court term ending and the 2018-2019 Supreme Court term beginning with new Justice Brett Kavanaugh, school district personnel must be mindful of the recent Supreme Court holdings and significant cases the Court may hear this term.Interested in learning more about these cases and Justice Kavanaugh?  If you are a Husch Blackwell client or a member of the Council of the Great City Schools, join us next Monday, December 10, at 2:30 Eastern Daylight Time for a complimentary continuing legal education webinar.  Click here to register. One of the cases we will discuss is…
D.C. Circuit Judge Brett Kavanaugh was nominated on July 9, 2018 to the Supreme Court by President Donald Trump. Should he be confirmed, his appointment could have far reaching effects to educational entities across the country. Kavanaugh is a strong proponent of religious liberty and second amendment rights, and has issued a variety of high-profile opinions. Kavanaugh’s Background Kavanaugh, a former law clerk to retiring Justice Kennedy, was also an author of the Starr Report, which urged the impeachment of President Bill Clinton. After the 2000 U.S. presidential election, Kavanaugh joined President George W. Bush’s staff, where he led the…