Jackie Wernz

Jackie Wernz

Franczek Radelet P.C.

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Illinois Appellate Court Decisions Addresses Important Student Discipline and Employment Issues for Public Schools

Earlier this month, the Illinois Appellate Court (First District) issued an opinion addressing a number of important student discipline and executive employment issues. Because the Appellate Court agreed with the trial court...more

9/28/2015 - Discipline Educational Institutions Employment Contract Hiring & Firing Motion for Reconsideration Motion to Dismiss Public School Boards Students Transfers Wrongful Termination

New Legislation Leaves Illinois Schools “Locked Out” of Student Social Media Accounts

Recent amendments to Illinois law draw back on rights of post-secondary, secondary, and elementary schools to request or require access to student social networking accounts such as Facebook and Twitter. School districts and...more

9/1/2015 - Cyberbullying Educational Institutions Right to Privacy School Districts Social Media Social Networks

Another Circuit Court Recognizes Schools’ Right to Discipline Students for Off Campus, Online Misconduct

In a recent case, the Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit joined four other circuits in recognizing the right of school districts to discipline students for at least some off-campus, online speech if the speech reasonably...more

8/27/2015 - Appeals Disciplinary Proceedings Educational Institutions Facebook Online Platforms School Districts Social Media Social Networks YouTube

School Districts and Charter Schools Must Address Student Data Privacy Concerns in Contracts

In working with school districts and charter schools, our firm has learned that many clients may have entered into agreements that lack key contract terms necessary to protect student data privacy. In other cases, we have...more

8/27/2015 - Charter Schools Data Privacy Data Protection Data-Sharing Educational Institutions Google Personally Identifiable Information School Districts Student Privacy

ISBE Issues Guidance and Forms Regarding Vaccination Religious Exemptions

On Tuesday, the Illinois State Board of Education issued guidance on recent changes to immunization requirements for students. As we reported last week, recent legislation requires a new meningitis vaccine for sixth and...more

8/20/2015 - Board of Education Educational Institutions Immunization Exemptions ISBE Public Health Public Schools Vaccinations

New Vaccine Requirement for Illinois Students Creates Confusion

Students, parents, and school districts should be mindful of new immunization requirements that go into effect for the 2015-16 school year. The changes include a requirement imposed by Public Act 98-0480 and related...more

8/13/2015 - Educational Institutions Immunization Exemptions Religious Exemption School Districts Students Vaccinations

PAC Rules on Two OMA Cases

The Illinois Attorney General’s Public Access Counselor (PAC) issued two non-binding opinions in July related to the Open Meetings Act (OMA). In one opinion, the PAC found that a school district did not violate the OMA when...more

8/11/2015 - Educational Institutions Open Meetings Act PACs Policy Violations Public Comment Public School Boards

School Districts Seeing Stars Over New Concussion Legislation

Last week, Governor Rauner signed into law the Youth Sports Concussion Safety Act (Public Act 99-0245) which includes a number of new requirements relating to student concussions for school districts, charter schools, and...more

8/11/2015 - Bodily Injury Charter Schools Compliance Educational Institutions Emergency Response IHSA Parental Consent Private Schools School Districts School Sports Sports Student Athletes

Is Your School District’s Lack of Social Media Guidelines Putting the District at Risk?

School districts are under growing scrutiny and criticism for the lack of clear social media guidelines and policies. For instance, after a Michigan teacher reportedly was sentenced to 6 to 15 years for an inappropriate...more

7/10/2015 - Copyright Infringement Educational Institutions Popular SnapChat Social Media Social Media Policy Students Teachers Trademark Infringement Twitter

Supreme Court Ruling Avoids Major Complications for Mandatory Reporters

Last week, the United States Supreme Court overturned a controversial decision by the Ohio Supreme Court holding that statements given by a preschool student to his teacher were tantamount to statements to police, and so...more

6/22/2015 - Child Abuse Criminal Prosecution Department of Children and Families (DCF) Mandatory Reporting Laws Miranda Warnings NSBA OH Supreme Court Pre-Schools School Districts SCOTUS Sixth Amendment

Must Schools Protect Teachers from Bullying by Students Online?

A lawsuit filed by a California teacher against the school district where she works puts a new spin on an old problem. As the National School Boards Association reported, the suit, filed last week by Amy Sulkis in the Los...more

6/11/2015 - Cyberbullying Educational Institutions Harassment NSBA Sexual Harassment Social Media Title IX Title VII Twitter

District Must Reimburse Special Education Student for Data Plan Required by Private Residential School

Those who follow the intersection between special education and technology know there is a dearth of administrative decisions and case law addressing what, if any, responsibility school districts have to provide or otherwise...more

5/29/2015 - Educational Institutions Public Schools Special Education Technology

Illinois Federal Court Addresses Lawsuit by Christian Leafletter on Public School Property

In a recent decision in the Northern District of Illinois, a trial court granted summary judgment in favor of a school district in a lawsuit stemming from the arrest of a local resident who was leafleting and proselytizing...more

5/13/2015 - Educational Institutions First Amendment Free Speech Public Property Public Schools Right to Picket Summary Judgment

NSBA to OCR: Standard for Addressing Requests for Technology by Students With a Communication Impairment is Off Key

Readers of our FR Alerts may remember my colleague Kendra B. Yoch authored an Alert in 2013 about a set of outlier cases in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, K.M. v. Tustin Unified School District and D.H. v. Poway Unified...more

4/13/2015 - ADA Appeals Department of Education DOJ IDEA Public Schools Reasonable Accommodation School Districts

Records Retention Rules Revamped

The State and Local Records Commission rules regarding records management, production, retention, and disposal have undergone sweeping changes. These changes reflect an express intent to bring public bodies up to speed by...more

4/10/2015 - Public Entities Record Retention Technology

FTC Reminds Schools When They Can Consent to Certain Online Activities By Students Under COPPA

Last week the Federal Trade Commission announced on its blog that it has updated its frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the interplay between schools and the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). Although...more

3/30/2015 - COPPA FTC Public Schools Third-Party Service Provider Websites

April 1 Deadline for Posting School Board Member E-Mail Addresses Online Approaches

As we reported in our 2014 Legislative Update, a recent law requires every school district that maintains a traditional website to post on that website a mechanism for members of the public to electronically communicate with...more

3/26/2015 - Deadlines Electronic Communications Email Public School Boards Public Schools

Crying Over (Virtual) Spilled Milk: ACLU Sues School District For Firing Employee Who Posted Vegan Beliefs Online

A recent lawsuit out of Ohio brings a local flare to what has otherwise become a relatively common story. We’ve all heard of teachers being disciplined or dismissed for posting something thoughtless online that led to...more

3/25/2015 - ACLU Employer Liability Issues Facebook First Amendment Hiring & Firing Public Schools Social Networks Teachers

NSBA Concerned About Recent Supreme Court Decision’s Impact on OCR Investigations

The National School Boards Association (NSBA) recently expressed its concerns over the Supreme Court’s recent landmark ruling in Perez v. Mortgage Bankers Association, which allows federal agencies to issue “interpretive...more

3/24/2015 - Administrative Procedure Act Department of Education Interpretive Rule Notice and Comment NSBA OCR Perez v Mortage Bankers Assoc SCOTUS

12 Legal Mistakes to Avoid in Terms of Service for Online Educational Services and Apps

A classroom teacher comes across a promising online educational service or application that she wants to use with her students and comes to you to make sure it’s legally appropriate. The service or app would collect and use...more

3/17/2015 - Data Collection Data Protection Department of Education FERPA Internet Privacy Public Schools Student Privacy Students Teachers

Limits of Supreme Court Ruling on Public Prayer Tested in Lawsuit Against California District

As our firm reported earlier this year, the Supreme Court recently held that sectarian invocations at public meetings do not automatically violate the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which separates church and...more

11/21/2014 - First Amendment Freedom From Religion Foundation Greece v Galloway Prayer Public Meetings Public School Boards SCOTUS

Court Affirms Three-Part Title IX Test Applies to High Schools

In a recent decision, Ollier v. Sweetwater Union High School District, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a trial court finding that a public school district intentionally discriminated and retaliated against female...more

10/15/2014 - College Athletes Department of Education Discrimination Retaliation Students Title IX

U.S. Department of Education Issues New Guidelines On Collecting Student Data

This past July, the U.S. Department of Education released the Transparency Best Practices for Schools and Districts, a new set of guidelines created to improve relations between school districts and parents surrounding school...more

9/12/2014 - Data Collection Data Protection Department of Education PTAC Public Schools School Districts Students

Back to School OMA/FOIA Update: Public Access Counselor (PAC) Decisions this Summer

The summer is nearly behind us, and it has been a busy summer for the Public Access Counselor (PAC) office of the Illinois Attorney General, which issued five binding decisions since May on Open Meetings Act (OMA) and Freedom...more

8/26/2014 - Colleges Contractors FOIA Open Meetings Act Sexual Harassment Subcontractors Universities

DOJ and DOE Warning: School Enrollment Practices Must Not Discourage Enrollment of Immigrant Students

According to the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education, U.S. school districts are discouraging student enrollment based on their parents’ illegal immigrant status. The Departments issued guidance, a frequently asked...more

8/21/2014 - Citizenship Citizenship Status Discrimination Department of Education DOJ Final Guidance Immigrants Public Schools School Districts Student Enrollments

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