We Listen.

New Title IX Compliance Guidance

By: Amanda J.  Sundquist The Office for Civil Rights (OCR) for the U.S. Department of Education has issued new guidance regarding Title IX compliance for intercollegiate and interscholastic athletic programs. The new guidance withdraws OCR’s 2005 guidance and provides additional clarification on compliance with part three of the three part Title IX test. …

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En Banc Rehearing on Free Speech Decisions Granted

By: Amanda Sundquist As discussed in my February 18, 2010 and April 12, 2010 blog entries on free speech, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit reached conflicting results in two student free speech cases: Layshock v. Hermitage School District and J.S. v. Blue Mountain School District.  The …

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Searching Student Electronic Devices

By: Amanda Sundquist Much attention has been focused recently on the alleged laptop webcam spying in Lower Merion School District. One of facts of the case is the possible violation of Pennsylvania’s Wiretapping and Electronic Surveillance Control Act, an act with implications for all school districts. Even before this video incident, technology and …

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Request for Clarification on Free Speech Decisions

By: Amanda J. Sundquist As discussed in my February 18, 2010 blog entry, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit reached conflicting results in two student free speech cases: Layshock v. Hermitage School District and J.S. v. Blue Mountain School District.  An article in the Legal Intelligencer reports …

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Free Speech Decisions

By: Amanda J. Sundquist The United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit has issued new, and competing student free speech decisions.  The cases names are becoming familiar to school districts across the region: Layshock v. Hermitage School District and J.S. v. Blue Mountain School District.  Both cases address the …

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Who May Participate in Public School Extracurricular Activities?

By: Amanda J. Sundquist In Trefelner v. Burrell School District, the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania issued a temporary restraining order to compel a school district to permit a parochial school student to participate in extracurricular activities offered by the school district, including marching and jazz bands. Pennsylvania’s Public …

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First Anniversary of the New Right-to-Know Law

By: Amanda J. Sundquist January 2010 marks the first anniversary of the implementation of the new Pennsylvania Right-to-Know Law. The past year has been a year of firsts for local agencies, requesters, and the Office of Open Records as the law has been implemented and interpreted. Sixty-five determinations by the Office of Open Records …

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How far can public school officials go in regulating student speech?

By: Amanda J. Sundquist How far can public school officials go in regulating student speech?  The traditional rule is that officials can quell speech that creates a “substantial disruption” of the educational process.  Now, the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit appears to have provided school officials in the Fifth Circuit …

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School Employers and Teachers Should Be Cautious When Entering into Emergency Contracts

By: Land Use and Zoning Secttion School employers, retired teachers, administrators and other personnel should use caution when entering into emergency contracts for temporary, post-retirement employment. Generally, employers may hire retired teachers, administrators and other personnel under temporary contracts when there is an emergency, or in the event of a shortage of appropriate personnel. However, …

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Does your school district have guidelines for Blogs and other internet communications?

By: Amanda J. Sundquist Out of school activities by students and staff that impact the effective running of a school district are a gray area to navigate. Recently, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals concluded that a teacher’s personal blog contained “several highly personal and vituperative comments” which justified the school district demoting …

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