Jackie Wernz

Jackie Wernz

Franczek Radelet P.C.

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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

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

7/25/2014 - Admissions Colleges Diversity Public Schools Race Universities

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

6/20/2014 - Establishment Clause Public Schools SCOTUS

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

4/8/2014 - First Amendment Freedom of Religion Public Schools Religion

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

1/8/2014 - Public Schools Student Records Students Unions

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

12/12/2013 - Acceptable Use Policy Bring Your Own Device Mobile Device Management Public Schools Students Technology

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

11/27/2013 - Establishment Clause First Amendment Holidays Public Schools Religion

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

11/14/2013 - CDC Food Allergies Food Safety Public Schools

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

10/22/2013 - Defamation Dismissals Due Process First Amendment Fourteenth Amendment Public Schools Students

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

10/9/2013 - Medical Marijuana Public Schools

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

9/10/2013 - Discipline Internet Mass Shootings Public Schools School Shootings Terrorist Threats

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

6/20/2013 - Department of Transportation FOIA Notice Requirements Open Meetings Act Public Meetings Public Records Public Schools

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

6/13/2013 - OCR Public Schools School Districts Sexual Assault Sexual Harassment Students

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

4/24/2013 - Cell Phones Fourth Amendment Public Schools Search & Seizure

Colorado School Denies Six-Year-Old Transgender Student’s Request To Use Girls’ Bathroom

As The New York Times recently reported, a Colorado school district is facing a lawsuit after refusing to allow a six-year-old transgender student to use the girls’ bathroom in a local elementary school. The case highlights...more

4/3/2013 - ACLU Discrimination Gender Discrimination Public Schools Students Transgender

Department Of Education Asks School Leaders To Address Gender-Based Violence

In a Dear Colleague letter issued last week to chief state school officers, the U.S. Department of Education called for immediate action to reduce gender-based violence in schools. The letter is short and sets forth only a...more

3/6/2013 - Discrimination DOE Gender Discrimination Gender-Based Violence Public Schools

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