Michael McKeon

Michael McKeon

Pullman & Comley, LLC

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Latest Publications


Hypnotic Suggestion: North Port High School and the Complicity of Indifference

Concluding what must be one of the oddest public school disputes in recent memory, the Sarasota County Board of Education in Florida has agreed to resolve a lawsuit brought by three sets of parents, each of whom claimed that...more

10/30/2015 - Board of Education Car Accident Cease and Desist Professional Misconduct Public School Boards Public Schools School Principal Students Suicide Wrongful Death

Board Members’ Homework Assignment: Making Sure Your District’s Website Is Legally Compliant

With the start of a new school year, students are not the only ones who have homework. To the contrary, school board members and their respective districts’ central office administrators have their own assignment -- ensuring...more

10/16/2015 - Board of Education Posting Requirements Public School Boards School Districts School Safety Students

Making Bad Choices: Title IX, Title VII and Ludlow V. Northwestern University

A prior post considered the case of Ha v. Northwestern University, in which the plaintiff claimed that Northwestern had violated Title IX by insufficiently disciplining one of its professors, Peter Ludlow, despite concluding...more

10/9/2015 - Adverse Employment Action Bias Colleges Discipline Gender Discrimination Northwestern University Preemption Professors Sex Discrimination Sexual Conduct Sexual Harassment Students Title IX Title VII Universities

Taking The “Due” Out of Due Process – OSERS and Compliance Complaints

During a brief altercation in Dashiell Hammett’s classic novel, The Maltese Falcon, the protagonist, Sam Spade, warns one of his antagonists that “when you’re slapped, you’ll take it and like it.” That is much the same...more

8/11/2015 - Complaint Procedures Department of Education Due Process Forum Selection IDEA School Districts Special Education Special Needs Children

Does One Wrong Equal No Rights? Connecticut Lets Its Surrogate Parents’ Contracts Lapse

Due to the State Department of Education’s failure to provide new contracts in a timely manner, Connecticut’s approximately 74 surrogate parents have found themselves in limbo. Surrogate parents are appointed by the State...more

7/30/2015 - Department of Education Disabled Children Foster Children Parental Consent Students

Clear Thinking: The State Board of Education’s Concussion Education Plan and Guidelines for Connecticut Schools

With each new year, it seems as if Connecticut legislators collectively agree to the same resolution – create new legal obligations for local and regional school boards. This year is no different. Although passed in early...more

2/8/2015 - Athletes Board of Education School Sports Students Written Consent

The Ends Justify The Means: Ha v. Northwestern University and Responding to Sexual Harassment Under Title IX

The recent decision in Ha v. Northwestern University, reiterates the leeway educational institutions have under Title IX when crafting a response to claims of sexual harassment. The plaintiff in Ha alleged that in February...more

1/13/2015 - Colleges Discipline Judgment on the Pleadings Northwestern University Remedial Actions Sexual Assault Sexual Harassment Title IX Universities

The Feds Are Watching: Equitable Allocations In School Budgets

It is indisputable that education forms the cornerstone of a productive society. What is frequently disputed, however, is what that cornerstone should cost, and just as every year swallows return to San Juan Capistrano, so...more

11/21/2014 - Budgets Department of Education Education Reform OCR Public School Boards School Districts Title IX

Conduct Unbecoming: Disciplining Educators For Non-School-Related Behavior

The involvement of a Connecticut middle school Principal and a middle school Guidance Counselor in the writing and production of films the media has described as being replete with female nudity, violence and sexually...more

11/19/2014 - Disciplinary Proceedings Employer Liability Issues Public School Boards Public Schools

Connecticut's Tenure Reform In The Wake of Vergara v. State of California

In a 1789 letter, Benjamin Franklin made the now oft-quoted observation that “in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” For many years, however, that certitude has been equally applicable in...more

10/7/2014 - Hiring & Firing Public School Boards Public Schools Public Sector Unions Teachers Tenure

Discipline as Defamation: Title IX, Disciplinary Panels, and The Risks of Righteousness in The Wake of Wells V. Xavier and Harris...

LR-college-campus_med_rgbTwo recent court rulings illustrate some of the perils facing university administrators when handling internal disciplinary complaints against students who have been alleged to have committed...more

9/23/2014 - Colleges Internal Investigations Rape Sexual Assault Title IX Universities

Alert: Policy Revisions Due to New Laws

This Alert is intended to give a general explanation of 2014 legislative enactments of the Connecticut General Assembly that may impact your board of education policies. For more detailed and individualized assistance with...more

8/28/2014 - Board of Education New Legislation Public Schools State and Local Government

Summary of 2014 Connecticut Legislative Enactments Affecting The Public Schools and Public-Sector Employers

In This Issue: - Interpreters Standards For Students With Hearing Impairments - Preschool And DCF - Health Assessment Forms for Use by Youth Camps and Day Care Providers - English Language Learner...more

8/18/2014 - Public Employees Public Employers Public Schools

Summertime Blues: T.M. v. Cornwall and The Mainstreaming of Extended-School-Year Programs

In a decision that will likely result in both practical challenges and financial burdens for public school districts, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held in T.M. v. Cornwall Central School District...more

7/30/2014 - Appeals Disabled Children Public Schools School Districts Special Education

Wells v. Xavier University: Investigating Campus Sexual Assaults and The Perils of Predetermination Under Title IX

The recent wave of Title IX complaints filed with the United States Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights [“OCR”], claiming that colleges and universities were either ignoring or mishandling reports of sexual...more

7/15/2014 - Colleges DOE Investigations OCR Sexual Assault Title IX Universities

Vergara v. California: Part Two: Is Tenure in Connecticut At Risk?

As discussed in a prior post, the recent decision in the case of Vergara v. State of California, et al., will, if upheld on appeal, eviscerate California’s public school teacher tenure law. Given that 46 states have some...more

6/18/2014 - Equal Protection Public Schools SCOTUS Seniority Students Teachers Tenure Vergara v State of California

Vergara v. California: Its Real Meaning

The media has missed the fact that Vergara is not primarily a case about tenure....more

6/16/2014 - Equal Protection Public Schools School Districts SCOTUS Seniority Students Teachers Tenure Vergara v State of California

Vergara v. California, and the Attenuation of Tenure, Part One: The Decision

In a landmark, June 10, 2014 decision that could set off a wave of similar litigation across the country, a California Superior Court judge ruled in the case of Vergara v. State of California, et al. that a number of...more

6/12/2014 - Equal Protection Patents Public Schools Students Teachers Vergara v State of California

(Academic) Freedom Is Free(r)

Samuel Johnson, the 18th-century English writer and lexicographer, observed that “words are but the signs of ideas.” While not intended as such, Dr. Johnson’s insight neatly summarizes one of the catalyzing principles for the...more

4/28/2014 - Adverse Employment Action Colleges First Amendment Public Employees

Separate and Unequal

Unlike people, not all schools are created equal. Anyone who doubts that need only review the results of the Civil Rights Data Collection [“CRDC”] for the 2011-2012 school year, which were released on March 21, 2014 by...more

4/1/2014 - Civil Rights Act Department of Education OCR Public Schools Title VII

The Road Not Taken

What is not alleged in a lawsuit can, paradoxically, sometimes serve as more of a cautionary note than what is, for its very absence brings it prominence. Such is the case with Saliba v. Five Towns College, 2014 WL 92690...more

3/13/2014 - Civil Rights Act EEOC Sexual Harassment Title IX Title VII

Common Core Testing Opt-Out…..Is it Legal?

Connecticut’s roll-out of the Common Core State Standards has been, to put it mildly, controversial. Critics of Common Core have decried what they perceive as the loss of local pedagogical control in favor of state and...more

2/19/2014 - Education Reform Public Schools

Dear Colleague Letter Firmly Urges Districts to Abandon “Zero Tolerance” in Student Discipline Policies

The Office for Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Education (OCR) and the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice recently released a joint “Dear Colleague Letter” (DCL) providing guidance on administering...more

2/14/2014 - Department of Education Discrimination National Origin Discrimination OCR Students Zero Tolerance Policies

Demystifying The Costs of Special Education

Despite comprising a significant percentage of every school district’s budget, special education costs often are not well understood. Even to those aware of special education mandates, their implementation can appear, in...more


Leveling the Playing Field: Providing Equitable Athletic Opportunities for Disabled Students

When Congress enacted Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, 20 U.S.C. §§1681 et seq. [“Title IX”], it forever changed the landscape of interscholastic and intercollegiate sports. Although as the recent Biediger v....more

8/14/2013 - Disability Disabled Children OCR Students Title IX

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