Articles

Conducting Open School Board Meetings in a Pandemic
By Laura A. Ferrugiari
Traditionally, public bodies have had to follow strict guidelines for their public meetings pursuant to Article 7 of the New York State Public Officers Law (“POL“), also known as the Open Meetings Law (“OML“). This statute imposes important obligations on public bodies, such as villages, towns, and school district boards, when conducting public meetings.

Avoiding First Amendment problems online.
By Abigail Hoglund-Shen
As a public entity, a school district is subject to the Free Speech clause of the First Amendment: “Congress shall make no law . . . abridging the freedom of speech[.]” But in the age of social media, school officials’ resolve to respect the free speech rights of community members can be sorely tested. More individuals are engaging in heated discourse online. Can school districts regulate public comments on their social media pages? And do the same rules apply to individual school board members and school administrators in their “personal” Facebook and Twitter accounts? While there is little case law involving social media and free speech in a school context, the principles involved have been well-established. This article provides a summary of such principles contained in the relevant case law.

RAAI! February-March, 2020
By Jack Feldman
In this installment of the Attorney’s Corner, we review four federal district court decisions and an advisory letter from the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (“OSERS”).

RAAI! January, 2020
By Jack Feldman
In this installment of the Attorney’s Corner, we review decisions from the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, a state educational agency decision, a decision from the Office of Civil Rights (“OCR”), an advisory letter from the Department of Labor (“DOL”), and a policy letter from the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (“OSERS”).

RAAI! October, 2019
By Jack Feldman
In this installment of the Attorney’s Corner, we review three federal district court decisions, a state agency decision from Florida, and an advisory opinion from the Family Policy Compliance Office (“FPCO”).

RAAI! September, 2019
By Jack Feldman
In this installment of the Attorney’s Corner, we review a State court decision from the New York Supreme Court (Nassau County), a federal district court decision, an administrative decision from the Office of State Review (“SRO”), and advisory opinions from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Services and Educational Programs (“OSEP”) and Family Policy Compliance Office (“FPCO”).

RAAI! August, 2019
By Jack Feldman
In this installment of the Attorney’s Corner, we review two decisions from the Second Circuit, a decision from the Sixth Circuit, two federal district court decisions, and an administrative decision from the Office of State Review (“SRO”).

The End of an Era: The Abolition of Religious Exemptions to Immunization Requirements.
By Christie Jacobson and Abagail Hoglund-Shen
Once eradicated in the United States, the measles virus is making a dangerous comeback. This article describes the current law of student immunizations, summarizes the history of the religious exemption, details challenges to the new law, and explains how schools may combat a disease outbreak.

What to do when a student with a disability bullies
By Timothy M. Mahoney
Timothy M. Mahoney was interviewed by LRP regarding steps school districts should take in addressing bullying for students with disabilities, whether the child is on the receiving end of bullying behavior or the perpetrator.

When Students Mimic White Supremacists
By Christie R. Jacobson
New York State Association of School Attorneys, The most recent data compiled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation showed a 5 percent annual increase in the number of hate crimes, which are defined by the FBI as “atraditional offense like murder, arson, or vandalism with an added element of bias.” Notably, almost 10 percent of 6,120 hate crimes in 2016 occurred at schools or universities.

The Conundrum of Homeschooling
By Laura A. Ferrugiari,
Nassau County Bar Association Home instruction, commonly known as homeschooling, occurs when children are instructed at home by their parent or other private instructor arranged by the parent. Home instruction is not a new concept; it has existed since the 1700s and is legal in every state. It is a topic in the news today due in part to reported cases of abuse of homeschooled students by their parents.

Can Schools Limit Student Speech? Should They?
By Christie R. Jacobson,
Nassau County Bar Association
Are student protests even allowed during the school day? Should they be? What if the student protest supports something that the rest of the community does not? This article reviews the basics of student free speech rights, and explores the boundaries of those rights in the public school setting.

Investigate every alleged incident of disability-based bullying, harassm.
Timothy M. Mahoney was interviewed by LRP regarding steps school districts should take in investigating allegations of bullying under DASA, especially for students with disabilities.

RAAI! February-March, 2018.
In this installment of the Attorney’s Corner, we review two federal decision, an appellate decision by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals, a decision by NYSED’s Office of State Review, and an opinion letter by the DOE’s Office of Educational Management.

RAAI! November-December 2017
In this installment of the Attorney’s Corner, we review three federal district court decisions, two decisions from NYSED’s Office of State Review (“SRO”), and an opinion from the Department of Education’s Office of Services and Programs (“OSEP”).

Endrew F: The U.S. Supreme Court’s New Standard for Students with Disabilities in Practice
By Laura A. Ferrugiari and Timothy M. Mahoney
Nassau County Bar Association
The Supreme Court of United States issued a rare decision, the first since 1982, ruling on the extent of entitlement a child with disabilities has in a school setting under the Individuals with Disabilities in Education Act (“IDEA”). The Court’s decision will likely have little notable impact on special education in New York; however, committees on special education are advised to pay close attention so that students’ measurable annual goals are drafted based on data that reflect current abilities. And, this data should be used to identify baseline performance, and measurement criteria should reflect high expectations for achievement.

Written by Joe Lilly and Nicole Donatich.
By the New York State Association of School Attorneys
In November 2015, administrators in a Suffolk County school district became aware that a video was circulating among 10th-grade students that showed sexual conduct between two 14-year-olds, one of whom was a student in the district. They confiscated the cellphones of several students, interviewed dozens of students and got the police involved. By the time the investigation was concluded, 28 students had been suspended.

Read All About It!.
In this installment of the Attorney’s Corner, we review three federal court decisions, one administrative decision from New Jersey, and an update on the Endrew F. litigation.

How I advise my clients? September 2017.
How should a district respond when a student with a disability is being bullied?

RAAI! December 2016 and January 2017.
In this installment of the Attorney’s Corner, while we anxiously await a decision from the Supreme Court regarding the level of educational benefit to which a disabled child is entitled under IDEA, we review two federal court decisions (including one from the Second Circuit Court of Appeals) and two Office of State Review (SRO) decisions. In addition, three Office for Civil Rights (OCR) documents are reviewed. This includes two Dear Colleague Letters, and an OCR recently published guidance on Section 504 compliance.






Archived Articles



For further information on earlier updates, or if you have questions about any of the above items, please email info@ffedlaw.com.

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Events Calendar
  • UPCOMING EVENTS
  • May 1, 2020
    Hampton Inn White Plains/Tarrytown
    200 West Main Street, Elmsford, New York
    9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
    Special Education Laws Made Simple

    Timothy Mahoney will be presenting a seminar on disciplinary procedures and managing FBAs, BIPs, physical restraints and isolation techniques. He will also cover suspensions and expulsions; Manifestation Determinations; interim alternative education settings; expedited due process hearings and school actions that can result in lawsuits. For additional information please visit www.nbi-sems.com.



  • May 8, 2020
    Four Points by Sheraton Melville
    333 S. Service Road, Plainview, NY
    9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
    School Law: Handling Mental Health Issues

    Jack Feldman will be presenting a seminar on balancing special education and mental health concerns; tying IEPs to mental health issues; drafting IEP goals for students; 504 plans: determining eligibility for mental health issues and outlining parameters of required services for students without 504s/IEPs. He will also discuss conducting FBAs and BIPs; performing Manifestation Determination Reviews; changing student placement; when to suspend or expel; handling and responding to bullying; harassment and intimidation; restraining and seclusion; documenting school discipline actions; and making criminal referrals for mental health concerns. For additional information please visit www.nbi-sems.com.


  • RECENT EVENTS
  • February 6, 2020
    Four Points by Sheraton, Melville
    Special Education Law: The Ultimate Guide

    Jack Feldman and Timothy Mahoney will be presenting a seminar on IEPs, 504 plans, Manifestation Determinations Reviews and more on behalf of National Business Institute. Jack will discuss developing legally compliant IEP’s that benefit students, 504 plan eligibility and accommodation best practices. Timothy will discuss bullying and harassment and ensuring special needs students receive free and appropriate public education (FAPE), along with Manifestation Determination Reviews (MDRs). For additional information, please visit www.nbi-sems.com..



  • October 25, 2019
    Rochester Riverside Convention Center
    123 E Main St, Rochester, NY 14604

    Christie Jacobson, Esq., will present at the New York State School Boards Association Annual School Law Conference held on October 24-26, 2019. Ms. Jacobson will present on the topic of “Free Speech in the Era of Social Media.” The audience for this presentation will be school board members, school administrators and school attorneys from throughout the State of New York. For additional information visit WWW.NYSSBA.ORG.

  • October 4, 2019
    IEPs and 504 Plan Legal Workshop

    On October 4, 2019, Jack Feldman and Timothy Mahoney presented a program on 504 plans on behalf of National Business Institute. 504 plans, like IEPs, are essential tools to ensure positive learning outcomes for many students. They also have the potential to cause legal issues for schools if they aren't properly planned and carried out. The seminar addressed key considerations for implementing IEPs, functional behavioral assessments (FBAs) and Behavior Intervention Plans (BIPs). For additional information, please visit www.nbi-sems.com.

  • August 19, 2019
    Live Teleconference 2:00 – 3:30 p.m.

    Jacob S. Feldman, Esq., presented a Live Teleconference Seminar on “Sexual Harassment in Schools: Interpreting the Latest Legal Guidelines”. The program covered the latest school sexual harassment guidelines you need to know. How to determine critical Title IX protections for victims of sexual harassment; how to properly respond to and document allegations using the latest federal guidance; and how to handle delicate sexual violence allegations the right way. For more information please visit www.nbi-sems.com.

  • June 3, 2019
    Four Points by Sheraton Melville Long Island
    333 S Service Road
    Plainview, NY 11803

    Jacob S. Feldman, Esq. and Timothy M. Mahoney, Esq., presented a seminar on “New York Special Education Law”. The program covered compliance with Special Education Laws to avoid liability; Strengthen knowledge of how recent special education legislation affects school policies and operation; Learning what to do and what not to do in 504 plans; Evaluating the legal protection offered by the Individualized Education Program (IEP); How to successfully handle disciplinary actions for students with disabilities; Exploring the role of manifestation determination reviewing the legality of disciplinary actions; and Understanding the rights of special needs students so as to avoid inadvertent illegal actions that may lead to a lawsuit. For further information please visit www.nbi-sems.com.

  • Monday, April 22, 2019
    Hofstra University
    Hempstead, New York

    We are proud to announce that our partner Christie R. Jacobson was honored as one of Hofstra University’s Outstanding Women in Law at an awards dinner reception held on Monday April 22,2019. This recognition celebrates women who have made meaningful and inspiring contributions to the legal community. For more information please visit www.law.hofstra.edu/owl.

  • Friday, December 7, 2018

    Jacob S. Feldman, Esq., presented a seminar on “Special Education”.
    Christie Jacobson, Esq., presented a seminar on “The Non-Resident "Resident" Student”.
    Joseph Lilly, Esq., presented a seminar on “Alcohol and Drugs in the Workplace”.
    Laura Dilimetin, Esq., presented a seminar on “School Safety”.
    For additional information visit www.nassaubar.org..



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