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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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Race-Based Admissions and Assignment Policies Survive Another Legal Challenge in Fisher v. University of Texas

Last year, I blogged about the impact of a higher education Supreme Court diversity case, Fisher v. University of Texas on K-12 schools. As discussed in that blog, although the decision was a higher education decision, it...more

Supreme Court Declines to Review Case on Public School Graduations in Churches

The Supreme Court decided this week not to hear a recent case from the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals (which has jurisdiction over Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin) regarding public school graduation ceremonies in churches....more

Federal Court Says New York City Schools Can Prohibit “Religious Worship” In School Facilities

As reported in the New York Times, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals recently held that a school district could prohibit outside community groups from using school facilities for “religious services” without violating the...more

Recent Appellate Court Decision Reminder Of Student Records Protections In Adversarial Proceedings

In a recent decision, the Illinois Appellate Court held that it is not an unfair labor practice for a school district to refuse to release school student records to a union in a grievance proceeding without a court order or...more

Model Policy For Purchase: Acceptable Use Of Technology

The use of technology in school districts continues to increase and evolve. Districts are using technology to enhance curriculum, replace traditional text books, and communicate with students, parents, and the community. ...more

It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like A Lawsuit: The Acceptable Role Of Religion In Public School Winter Musical Programs And Toy...

Thanksgiving is not yet here, but school districts across the country already are grappling with an important question regarding later, religious holidays like Christmas. The question: Can religious content be included in...more

President Expected To Sign Epi-Pen School Food Allergies Bill

As reported by the Washington Post, President Obama is expected to sign a bill into law encouraging states to require schools to take greater efforts to protect students with food allergies. The bipartisan bill was proposed...more

Seventh Circuit Dismisses Lawsuit Against Guidance Counselor For Defamation

The Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals, which is the highest federal court with jurisdiction over Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin, recently rejected a claim by a parent that a school guidance counselor’s statement to his...more

Settlement Reached In Case Over Jesus Portrait In Ohio Middle School

In an earlier blog post, we addressed whether an Ohio school district violated the First Amendment by hanging a portrait of Jesus in a middle school. The portrait allegedly was a gift to the school board by a Christian...more

10/18/2013  /  ACLU , Art , First Amendment , Public Schools , Religion

Medical Marijuana And K-12 Schools: The Straight Dope On How Schools Can Deal

Illinois recently joined twenty other states and the District of Columbia in legalizing medical marijuana. Four other states are considering passing similar legislation in the near future. ...more

Ninth Circuit Upholds Discipline Of Student For Off-Campus, Online Threat Of School Shooting

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals joined a growing number of federal courts of appeals that have addressed when public schools can discipline students for off-campus, online misconduct. The case involved multiple threats by...more

Key Takeaways From Recent FOIA And OMA Decisions

The Illinois courts and the Attorney General’s Public Access Counselor (“PAC”) issued a flurry of decisions in May and June relating to the Illinois Freedom of Information Act (“FOIA”) and the Illinois Open Meetings Act...more

OCR Decision Reminds School Districts To Conduct Prompt, Thorough Investigation Of Student Sexual Harassment And Violence Claims

Mlive.com and the NSBA Legal Clips recently reported that a Michigan School entered into an agreement with the Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) to resolve allegations that the district failed to...more

Sixth Circuit Rules School’s Search Of Student Cellphone Violated Fourth Amendment

In a recent decision, the first federal appellate court to address the rights of school officials to search student cell phones held that a student’s violation of a school rule regarding technology did not justify a general...more

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