Education Civil Rights

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Tinker, Take Two

Two legendary figures in the ongoing fight for student free speech rights are asking the Supreme Court to revisit this thorny area of First Amendment jurisprudence. John and Mary Beth Tinker were petitioners forty-six years...more

Former Harvard Professor Files Title IX Lawsuit After Being Denied Tenure

Over the past year, an exceptional number of colleges and universities have been accused by both complainants and accused students of mishandling complaints of sexual misconduct in violation of Title IX. Now, in a somewhat...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

Vassar College Prevails in Respondent’s Title IX Lawsuit

A judge in the Southern District of New York recently granted summary judgment to Vassar College in a case brought by a former student accused of sexual assault. The plaintiff alleged that Vassar violated Title IX and various...more

Federal Court Dismisses Accused Student’s Title IX Lawsuit Against Vassar College

Last week, a federal judge in New York (Abrams, J.) dismissed an accused student’s lawsuit against Vassar College alleging that the institution discriminated against him by failing to conduct an equitable investigation into a...more

Justice Department sues university in Oklahoma on behalf of transgender professor

One of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s stated 2015 priorities is applying Title VII’s sex discrimination protection to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals. This focus is illustrated by a recent...more

Managing the Institutional Response to Race-Based Harassment

In recent weeks, several colleges and universities have faced a flurry of high-profile race-based harassment incidents, requiring a thoughtful balance of constitutional and fairness questions while ensuring that students feel...more

OSEP Issues Letter Expanding Parents’ Right to an IEE

One of the most significant safeguards that parents of students with disabilities have under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) is the right to an independent educational evaluation (IEE). In essence, this...more

U.S. Department of Justice Files Lawsuit Against Southeastern Oklahoma State University for Transgender Discrimination

Last week, in a rather bold move, the United States Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against Southeastern Oklahoma State University (“Southeastern”), alleging that the school discriminated against a transgender professor...more

Handling Student Sexual Assault In K-12 Schools

In March, U.S. News & World Report featured a lengthy story provocatively titled, “High Schools and Middle Schools Are Failing Victims of Sexual Assault.” In addition to documenting situations where schools allegedly...more

The ADA: A Far Cry From the ABCs

Qualified individuals, reasonable accommodations, undue hardship, fundamental alteration – these terms associated with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) are a far cry from the simplicity of the ABCs, and cause much...more

Justice Department Settlement With edX Suggests Heightened Scrutiny of Online Course Accessibility and Potential Strategies for...

On April 2, the Department of Justice entered into a settlement agreement with edX, a major online college course provider, over alleged violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) related to the accessibility of...more

Federal Judge Finds Michigan School District Liable for Failure to Train Staff on Title IX

Earlier this week, U.S. District Judge Paul Maloney held that the Forest Hills School District, located near Grand Rapids, Michigan, can and will be held liable for its failure to provide Title IX training to staff on proper...more

It's Time to Start Planning Your Summer

It is hard to believe that the 2014/15 school year is coming to a close. Summer projects beckon. So, what should be on the list for your summer (other than some vacation time)? Ideally, if you haven’t done it lately, you...more

Recent Case Reminds Schools of First Amendment and Title VII Responsibilities in Employment Context

Recently, the Northern District of Illinois issued its opinion in Wong v. Board of Education of Community Consolidated School District 15. Although the court’s decision does not address novel arguments or depart from prior...more

Justice Department Files Lawsuit Alleging that Southeastern Oklahoma State University Discriminated Against Transgender Woman

WASHINGTON - The Justice Department announced today the filing of a lawsuit against Southeastern Oklahoma State University (Southeastern) and the Regional University System of Oklahoma (RUSO) for violating Title VII of the...more

New York’s Property Tax Cap Wins Again

In 2013 we reported on NYSUT‘s lawsuit which claimed that New York’s recently-enacted property tax “cap” was unconstitutional. The thrust of NYSUT’s 2013 arguments against the cap were that it (1) harmed school districts that...more

SDE Releases New “Working Definition” of Dyslexia for Special Education Eligibility

Last year the General Assembly enacted Public Act 14-39, which required the Connecticut State Department of Education (SDE) to add “SLD-Dyslexia” as a separate primary disability category under the existing “specific learning...more

OCR Issues Guidance Regarding Immunization Requirements for Students With Disabilities

The U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights (OCR) recently issued guidance regarding how schools should address situations where a student with a disability is unvaccinated. This guidance recognizes that there are...more

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

Government Group Scrutinizing Policies at Campuses

Racist chants by students at the University of Oklahoma have gained national attention in the press and on the internet. Challenges to policies on reasonable accommodations at colleges, universities and schools have also...more

Must Gluten-free Be Free? What You Should Know About Celiac Disease and the ADA

Restaurants nationwide are beginning to offer gluten-free alternatives to regular menu items. This is welcome news to those long suffering from celiac disease, a chronic and serious immune reaction to eating gluten, a protein...more

Court Denies Summary Judgment to Employer on Professor’s Allegations He Was Denied Tenure After Reporting Inappropriate Facebook...

A federal court in Oklahoma recently denied summary judgment to Northeastern State University, finding that a professor’s discrimination and retaliation claims, among others, could proceed to trial. The professor, Dr. Leslie...more

Religious Institutions Update: March 2015

Several interrelated legal developments make it more important than ever for religious institutions intending to qualify for exemptions to generally applicable laws to do the hard work before litigation or administrative...more

A Review of New York’s Proposed Sexual Violence Legislation – Part I: Consent

As we noted in our last post, we will be taking a closer look at the specific provisions of New York’s proposed sexual violence legislation over the next week or so. With the Governor’s Office urging New York colleges and...more

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