Jackie Wernz

Jackie Wernz

Franczek Radelet P.C.

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Before You Upload That Student Photo, Ask: What Would FERPA (Have Me) Do?

It’s Springtime in Chicago again, which means you can count on two things–complaints about the lingering cold weather and the Annual Illinois ASBO Conference, which is going on now in Schaumburg, Illinois. I was lucky enough...more

5/6/2016 - Educational Institutions FERPA Online Safety for Children Photographs Privacy Concerns Student Records Students Websites

Internal Investigative Reports That Lead to Discipline Are Not Exempt Adjudicatory Records under FOIA

An Illinois Appellate Court has further limited the public records that a public body can withhold from disclosure under Section 7(1)(n) of the Freedom of Information Act, which exempts “records relating to a public body’s...more

4/27/2016 - Confidential Information Disciplinary Proceedings Exemptions FOIA Internal Investigations Newspapers Public Records

Illinois Appellate Court Sheds Light on When Records Are Not “Reasonably Accessible” On A Public Body’s Website Under FOIA

The Illinois Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) was amended in December, 2014 to provide that a public body is not required to copy a public record that is published on the public body’s website. 5 ILCS 140/8.5. The exception...more

3/21/2016 - Accessibility Rules FOIA Public Records Request For Information Websites

U.S. Department of Education Issues More Guidance on ESSA

The U.S. Department of Education (“ED”) recently issued a second Dear Colleague Letter interpreting the Every Student Succeeds Act (“ESSA”), which reauthorizes the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (“ESEA”) and...more

3/1/2016 - Dear Colleague Letter Department of Education ESEA IDEA No Child Left Behind School Districts Special Education Teachers

Supreme Court Refuses to Provide Clarity on Discipline for Off-Campus, Online Student Speech

The Supreme Court has a lot to worry about these days, like a year plus of finding out first hand what can happen (or not happen) to your ability to make precedent when you have a 4-4 deadlock on the Court. So its recent...more

2/29/2016 - Educational Institutions First Amendment Free Speech Online Platforms SCOTUS Student Speech Students

PAC Finds FOIA Predecisional Exemption Does Not Apply to Training Materials on Final Policy

Recently, the Attorney General issued a binding opinion finding that the Governor’s Office of Management and Budget (GOMB) violated the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by withholding a PowerPoint presentation used as...more

1/18/2016 - Enforcement Actions PACs Policy Violations

Headed Toward a Short Circuit? Robots, Special Education Students, and Legal Risks

When I was a kid, I loved the movie Short Circuit. (I know: I’m both dating myself and making you question my taste in movies). I always wondered if the day would come when I would have my own walking, talking robot friend...more

1/15/2016 - FERPA Hackers Popular Privacy Concerns Robotics Special Education

Out with the Old and In with the New: President Obama Replaces No Child Left Behind with the Every Student Succeeds Act

After a controversial 13-year reign, the No Child Left Behind Act (“NCLB”) has come to an end. Last Thursday, after a bipartisan vote of 85-12 the day before in the U.S. Senate, President Obama signed into law the Every...more

12/16/2015 - Educational Institutions New Legislation No Child Left Behind Proficiency Testing Students

Is Google Illegally Spying On Your Students? New FTC Complaint Says It Is

Google Apps for Education has recently come under fire with a Federal Trade Commission complaint filed by a nonprofit organization, Electronic Frontier Foundation. In a press release issued last week, EFF claims that Google’s...more

12/8/2015 - Data Mining FERPA FTC Google Mobile Devices Personal Data Popular

Report on Student Data Privacy Highlights Two Key Issues For School Leaders

Student data privacy is the “it” issue right now in edtech, as evidenced by a recent special Student Data Privacy Report (free registration required) issued by Education Week. Education Week prefaces the report with a fact...more

11/3/2015 - Cyber Attacks Cyber Crimes Cyber Insurance Cyber Threats Data Breach Data Privacy Data-Sharing Educational Institutions Hackers Personal Data Privacy Concerns Technology Sector

California Court: School Districts Cannot Prevent Posting of Videos of Open Board Meetings

Our friends over at the EdLawConnectBlog in California published a blog about an interesting case from the Golden State that school leaders from across the country may find interesting. The case addressed whether school...more

10/30/2015 - Board Meetings City Councils Copyright Educational Institutions Fair Use FOIA Internet Online Platforms Open Meetings Act Public Concern Public Records Public School Boards Video Recordings Websites

School Leaders: Are Your Automatic Phone Messages and Texts Breaking The Law?

In the past few months, we’ve had a flurry of requests from schools about the legality of automated calls and text messages they are making to cell phones. The Telecommunications Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) governs the...more

10/12/2015 - Auto-Dialed Calls Cell Phones Educational Institutions FCC Prior Express Consent Privacy Concerns Public Schools Smartphones TCPA Telecommunications Text Messages

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

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