Articles

Bullying and Mask Wearing
But is it bullying? What to do when students pick on each other over masks
Bullying is characterized by the U.S. Education Department as aggression used within a relationship where the aggressor has more real or perceived power than the target, and the aggression is repeated or has the potential to be repeated. Bullying is physical, verbal, or psychological actions inflicting or attempting to inflict discomfort upon another through a real or perceived imbalance of power. See Dear Colleague Letter, 61 IDELR 263 (OSERS/OSEP 2013)

Split among circuit courts raises questions on regulating disruptive off-campus speech.
By the New York State Association of School Attorneys
According to the U.S. Supreme Court, neither students nor teachers “shed their constitutional rights to the freedom of speech at the schoolhouse gate” (Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School, 1969). However, the court said schools may regulate or discipline students for speech that “materially disrupts classwork or involves substantial disorder or invasion of the rights of others.” Several federal circuit courts have applied the school’s authority under Tinker to offcampus speech when it creates a foreseeable risk of substantial disruption on campus.

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.






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Events Calendar
  • UPCOMING EVENTS
  • Friday, April 8, 2022
    10:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
    2022 Annual School Law Conference
    Sponsored by the Education Law Committees of Suffolk and Nassau County Bar Associations
    As well as the Suffolk & Nassau Academies of Law


    Speakers:
    Jacob S. Feldman, Esq., Frazer & Feldman, LLP
    Christie Jacobson, Esq., Frazer & Feldman, LLP
    Joseph Lilly, Esq., Frazer & Feldman, LLP
    Dennis O’Brien, Esq., Frazer & Feldman, LLP

    Topics will include: “Deal or No Deal” - Disciplinary Proceedings in Cyberspace; Special Education “Jeopardy!” – Navigating the Perils of Spe-cial Education Ethics One Question at Time; and “Let’s Make a Deal” – Negotiating in the Post Pandemic.




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  • March 30, 2022
    Freedom of Information Law (“FOIL”) Training Seminar


    Christie R. Jacobson held a client training seminar on the New York State Freedom of Information Law (“FOIL”) for all school board members, Superintendents of Schools, interested school administrators, Records Access Officers, FOIL Appeals Officers, and district clerks. For more information, please go to the Client Memoranda tab of our website for a recording of the seminar.



  • February 11, 2022
    On-Line Seminar
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    Jack Feldman will be presenting a seminar on the IEP Development Process: Handling Difficult Issues and Key Considerations for Implementing IEPs. The seminar will address IDEA evaluation report essentials; IEP Meetings; creating measurable IEP goals and progress requirements; who should receive a copy of IEPs and what form should it be; and what to do when IEPs aren’t working. For additional information, please visit www.nbi-sems.com.



  • Wednesday, February 16, 2022
    Webinar: Social Media Ethics for School Attorneys
    When lawyers use social media, what ethical rules apply? And how?

    Time: Noon to 1:00 p.m.
    Price: $110 per person


    Christie R. Jacobson will co-present a seminar on the topic of school attorneys and their law firms are using social media platforms such as LinkedIn, YouTube, and Twitter to connect with both current and prospective clients. However, as with all other forms of attorney advertising, they must remain mindful of potentially serious ethical implications. For example, Rule 7.1 of the New York Rules of Professional Conduct governs attorney and law firm advertisements, including content published on the Internet and via social media. This webinar will review the rules governing social media ethics and their application to attorneys who practice education law. For more information and to register, please visit https://www.nysasa.org.



  • December 9, 2021
    On-Line Seminar
    9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
    New York Special Education Law


    Jack Feldman will be presenting a seminar on Special Education Law in New York. The seminar will address the increasing number of students qualifying for special education services. Professionals working with special needs children know that an understanding of special education law is crucial. You need to know the law in order to deal with complex questions that arise on a regular basis. Who pays when a special needs child is placed in private schooling at the parents' election? How can a school create the least restrictive environment and promote inclusion to the best interests of all students? It can be costly if you don't know. For additional information, please visit www.nbi-sems.com.





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