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2018 Education Legislation Summary

In its 2018 regular session, the General Assembly made a number of changes in the statutes that affect public education in Connecticut. This summary is intended to give you a brief overview of some of the more significant changes that were made this year in the area of education. In addition, for more information about new legislation affecting employers in general, please see our Employment Legislation Summary.

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CAS Legal Mailbag Question of the Week – 9/18/2018

Originally appeared in the CAS Weekly Newsletter.
Written by attorney Thomas B. Mooney.

Dear Legal Mailbag:

For the last five years as the principal of an elementary school, I have done my very best to stay under the radar of the board of education. I appreciate the public service of the board members and all, but they are really a bunch of nosy parkers who should get a life.

Why am I telling you this, you ask. Here is the situation…The first day of school a parent came to see me with a concern that his daughter was being bullied. I was, of course, appropriately sympathetic, and I tried to ask the father what we could do to help. But he kept getting louder and angrier, and then he started making vulgar verbal attacks on my staff and on me personally. He was impervious to my efforts to de-escalate, and finally I had to tell him that our meeting was over. Even then, he kept on shouting until I threatened to call the police. He finally agreed to leave, but not before he warned me that I would be hearing more from him.

Hear, I did. The father continued the attacks, except this time on social media. To read his posts, I am a heartless bureaucrat who chased him out of my office and hates students. Unfortunately, some of the Board members took notice of these attacks, and now I find myself the subject of an executive session discussion. On the whole, I’d rather be in Philadelphia, but I am thinking that it would probably be best for me to attend the executive session. Can I do that?

Thank you,
I Am Innocent Continue Reading

Peter Maher Presents 2018 Education Legislation Review

The Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents is hosting an upcoming event on October 3, 2018, where Peter Maher will present a review of the legislation from the 2018 legislative session.

Appetizers and beverages will be provided as well as open time to network. This event is for superintendents and retired superintendents only.

When: October 3, 2018
4:00 PM – 7:00 PM EDT

Where: Alumni House, Fairfield University
1073 North Benson Road
Fairfield, CT 06824

For registration information, please click here.

Webinar: Hot Topics in Environmental and Renewable Energy Law for Independent Schools

Please join Shipman & Goodwin partners Andrew Davis, Aaron Levy and Matt Ranelli for this informative program regarding current and pressing environmental and renewable energy-related issues and opportunities for independent schools. The presenters will address key legal and practical issues independent schools face in their day-to-day operations as well as with campus building, renovation and demolition projects, with particular focus on:

  • Managing Environmental Risks and Hazardous Building Materials (e.g., mold, asbestos, lead, PCBs)
  • Best Practices When Dealing with Outside Environmental Consultants and Contractors
  • Responding to Environmental, Health and Safety Concerns and Crisis Management
  • Facility-wide Energy Planning
  • Important Considerations for Solar and Other Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Projects
  • C-PACE and other State Financing Programs for Renewable Energy and Green Building Projects

Attendees will benefit from an engaging discussion with attorneys who regularly assist independent schools with environmental and energy-related matters. The presenters invite your input on particular issues your school is facing and any other matters you would like them to discuss during the presentation. Please provide your suggestions, comments and questions by email to jsiegel@goodwin.com if there are specific issues you would like the presenters to address.

WHEN: October 3, 2018  from 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM

Last Chance to Register: 2018 Education Legislation Summary Seminar, Hartford Session

There is still time to register for the 2018 Education Legislation Summary Seminar taking place Friday, September 14th at the Hartford Marriott Downtown.  We hope you can join us!

In its 2018 Regular Session, the General Assembly made a number of changes in the statutes that affect public education in Connecticut. This workshop is intended to give public and charter school personnel an overview of some of the changes that were made in the Regular Session.

Workshop topics include new guidance and/or changes regarding the following:

  • Restraint, Seclusion and Exclusionary Time Out
  • Student Data Privacy
  • Guidelines for Life Threatening Food Allergies, Glycogen Storage Disease and Administering Epinephrine
  • New Curriculum Requirements
  • Special Education Service Provider Agreements
  • Oral Health Assessments
  • Changes to Mandated Reporting Requirements
  • Personnel or Medical Record Requests
  • Background Checks
  • Minimum Budget Requirement
  • and more

>> Download the 2018 Education Legislation Summary.

Parking will be validated. We look forward to seeing you at this complimentary seminar.

WHEN: September 14, 2018 from 8:00 AM – 10:30 AM
WHERE: Hartford Marriott Downtown, 200 Columbus Blvd, Hartford, CT  >> Get Directions

CAS Legal Mailbag Question of the Week – 9/11/2018

Originally appeared in the CAS Weekly Newsletter.
Written by attorney Thomas B. Mooney.

Dear Legal Mailbag:

I had a student audio record a teacher in a classroom for the express purpose of getting the teacher in trouble. The student’s complaint was that the teacher was not adequately supervising an “annoying” student who repeatedly disrupts the class. The student who made the recording had come to the administration previously to complain about this teacher’s classroom management. As a result, a paraprofessional had been put in the room, and one student was removed. The remaining “annoying” student, however, was still in the classroom. The teacher feels that the rest of the class, including the student who made the secret recording, are “ganging” up on the student, who is a special education student with behavioral problems and needs extra support.

Is it legal in Connecticut for a student to record a teacher without the teacher’s knowledge or permission with the intention of getting the teacher into trouble?

Thank you,
Who’s Paranoid? Continue Reading

Gwen Zittoun to Present on Data Privacy and Cyber Risk

Gwen Zittoun will co-present on a Data Privacy and Cyber Risk Panel as part of the Connecticut Risk Management Association’s Annual Risk Management Day on September 14, 2018 at the Hilton Garden Inn located in Wallingford, CT.

The panel will cover the evolving data privacy statutory requirements, emergency cybersecurity threats, the development of internal data privacy procedures, the technical components that go into building internal protect against privacy breaches and much more.

Click here to register for this event.


SEE YOU IN COURT! – September 2018

The glory days for Nutmeg Knights Football were long gone, the last winning season having been in 2003.  But Coach Rock, the beleaguered long-time Knights coach, soldiered on.  Calls for change grew shriller, however, as the Knights dropped their first two games this fall by lopsided scores.  Mr. Superintendent decided that he had to do something.

The next day, Mr. Superintendent stopped by to chat with Coach Rock before practice, and he gently broached the subject of retirement.  “None of us is getting any younger, Coach.  Don’t you think that it is time for you to hang up your cleats?”

In the moment, Coach Rock was quiet, even contemplative.  “Despite my tough exterior,” he responded after a long pause, “I am a sensitive soul, and I am sick of the all the criticism.  If these Football Boosters think that they can do a better job with the meager talent here in Nutmeg, let them try.  I will resign.”

True to his word, Coach Rock sent Mr. Superintendent an email later that day, stating, “I hereby resign my employment as coach, effective soon.”  Mr. Superintendent promptly replied by email with a grateful acknowledgment, stating that he would bring Coach Rock’s resignation to the Board at its next meeting.

There are no secrets in Nutmeg, and somehow word of Coach Rock’s resignation was soon the topic of controversy.  A group of Nutmeg Knights alumni promptly started a Facebook page, “Winning Isn’t Everything,” which accused Mr. Superintendent of age discrimination against Coach Rock and demanded that Coach Rock withdraw what they now described as his “offer” to resign.  Coach Rock was touched by this show of support, and he called Mr. Superintendent to say that he had reconsidered and would continue on as coach of the Nutmeg Knights.

Mr. Superintendent was surprised and annoyed by this news, and he told Coach Rock that it was too late for equivocation.  “I have your resignation,” he replied curtly, “and the Board will be accepting it at its next meeting.”  But Coach Rock was not persuaded, and later that day, he sent Mr. Superintendent another email, stating “To avoid any misunderstanding, please be advised that I have withdrawn my resignation, and I look forward to coaching the Knights for many years to come.”

By the next Board meeting, battle lines were drawn, and a group of Knights football alumni were in attendance, many wearing their old jerseys.  During Public Comment, a number of former players gave testimonial to Coach Rock’s influence on their lives.  But others spoke in favor of Mr. Superintendent, and one speaker even used part of his three minutes to play a recording of “It’s Time to Say Goodbye.”

Eventually, the Board went on with its meeting, and it addressed the question of Coach Rock’s resignation when it reached the standing agenda item, Personnel Actions.  Mr. Chairperson started the discussion by noting that it was time for some new blood in the football program and that the Board should support its Superintendent.  Surprisingly, there was little discussion.  Mal Content moved to accept Coach Rock’s resignation, and the Board promptly and unanimously so voted.

Is Coach Rock done in Nutmeg?

Continue Reading

Learning Forum: Failure to Report Child Abuse and/or Neglect

Shipman & Goodwin’s School Law Practice Group is proud to host “Learning Forum: Failure to Report Child Abuse and/or Neglect,” a program presented by the Connecticut Association of Public School Superintendents (CAPSS) in partnership with the Department of Children and Families (DCF). Superintendents and DCF personnel from across the state will participate in this important discussion of topics relevant to Connecticut school districts, including careline process, mandated reporting, legal process, best practices and prosecutorial discretion.

The program will take place on August 20, 2018, from 8:30-11:00am in the firm’s Hartford, Connecticut office.

For more information and a complete agenda, click here.