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It’s not too late to register for the Connecticut Association of Schools’ Annual Leadership Conference. Several Shipman attorneys will present as part of the Connecticut Association of Schools’ (CAS) Annual Leadership Conference to be held at the Mystic Marriott in Groton, Connecticut on March 14-15, 2024. Registration is open until March 1, 2024.

FERPA and FOI: What the F are the Rules?
Presented by: Tom Mooney and Julie Reznik

This presentation will focus on the similarities and differences between FERPA and the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), the two statutes by which parents and others may demand access to information from school officials.  School leaders should understand the different rules that apply under FERPA and the FOIA. The timelines for response are different for these statutes, and the information that must be disclosed will differ depending upon the identity of the party making the request.  Through scenarios and questions for discussion, participants will learn (1) about the extent (and limitations) of confidentiality requirements under FERPA and the FOIA, (2) how best to respond to requests for information under these two laws, and (3) about the special rules (and dangers) that apply to email communications.

Social Media: Rights and Realities of Regulation by School Officials
Presented by: Natalia Sieira Millán and Tom Mooney

This presentation will review the First Amendment rights of students and staff members as these rights may be exercised through social media.  It will review the important differences between the free speech rights of students and the free speech rights of staff members, and it will explain the counterintuitive result of judicial decisions that students have greater free speech rights than the staff members who teach and supervise them.  Through scenarios and discussion, participants will learn about (1) the scope of free speech rights of students and of staff members, and (2) whether and when students and staff members may be held accountable for any disruption they may cause through their posts on social media notwithstanding the protections of the First Amendment. 

Special Education Issues for School Administrators
Presented by: Abby Booth and Peter Maher

Among many other responsibilities, building leaders often are tasked with addressing a variety of special education issues for their students and related questions from parents and staff. This presentation will discuss important special education legal issues that many school leaders routinely face.  The discussion will be led through scenarios and a frequently-asked-questions format, and participants will discuss and learn about child find obligations, preparation versus predetermination; addressing thorny issues that arise during a PPT meeting; ensuring implementation of IEPs and services; and having difficult conversations with parents and staff. An emphasis will be placed on preventative issue-spotting and practical considerations.

For more information about the event, or to register, visit the Connecticut Association of Schools website.

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Photo of Thomas B. Mooney Thomas B. Mooney

Tom is chair emeritus of the School Law Practice Group and is active in all areas of school law, including labor negotiations for certified and non-certified staff, teacher tenure proceedings, grievance arbitration, freedom of information hearings, student disciplinary matters, special education disputes and…

Tom is chair emeritus of the School Law Practice Group and is active in all areas of school law, including labor negotiations for certified and non-certified staff, teacher tenure proceedings, grievance arbitration, freedom of information hearings, student disciplinary matters, special education disputes and all other legal proceedings involving boards of education. Tom is the author of A Practical Guide to Connecticut School Law (9th Edition, 2018), a comprehensive treatise on Connecticut school law, and two columns, “See You in Court!,” which appears in the CABE Journal, and “Legal Mailbag,” which appears in the CAS Bulletin.

Photo of Peter J. Maher Peter J. Maher

Peter Maher represents boards of education and other entities in all areas of school law, with an emphasis on special education issues, labor and employment matters and, more recently, issues related to school operations during the COVID-19 pandemic. A former educator, Peter draws…

Peter Maher represents boards of education and other entities in all areas of school law, with an emphasis on special education issues, labor and employment matters and, more recently, issues related to school operations during the COVID-19 pandemic. A former educator, Peter draws on his firsthand knowledge of the needs and goals of school stakeholders to provide practical, community-specific and timely counsel that helps prevent problems when possible and solve them when necessary. Whether navigating sensitive special education matters or advising on day-to-day district operations, he partners with his clients to identify opportunities and pursue a clear path in the face of today’s challenges.

Photo of Natalia Sieira-Millan Natalia Sieira-Millan

Natalia Sieira Millan advises public school districts on all aspects of school law, and she also teaches school law at the Neag School of Education at the University of Connecticut as well as the Quinnipiac University School of Education.  Prior to joining the…

Natalia Sieira Millan advises public school districts on all aspects of school law, and she also teaches school law at the Neag School of Education at the University of Connecticut as well as the Quinnipiac University School of Education.  Prior to joining the firm, Attorney Sieira Millan was an Assistant Agency Legal Director with the Connecticut Department of Children and Families.

Photo of Sarah Gleason Sarah Gleason

Sarah Gleason is a member of the firm’s School Law Practice Group, where she advises public school districts on a variety of general education, special education and labor and employment issues.  Prior to receiving her J.D., Sarah worked as an elementary school teacher…

Sarah Gleason is a member of the firm’s School Law Practice Group, where she advises public school districts on a variety of general education, special education and labor and employment issues.  Prior to receiving her J.D., Sarah worked as an elementary school teacher, and she brings that unique perspective to her practice as a school law attorney.

Photo of Julie P. Reznik Julie P. Reznik

Julie Reznik is a member of the firm’s School Law Practice Group. She advises public school districts on a variety of general education, special education and labor and employment issues. Julie focuses her practice on special education matters and disputes, student discipline, and…

Julie Reznik is a member of the firm’s School Law Practice Group. She advises public school districts on a variety of general education, special education and labor and employment issues. Julie focuses her practice on special education matters and disputes, student discipline, and the Connecticut Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). She also serves on the firm’s Model Policy Committee, which provides a comprehensive set of model policies and administrative regulations, as well as model notifications and forms, for Connecticut boards of education and charter schools.

Photo of Kelsey Scarlett Kelsey Scarlett

Kelsey Scarlett is a member of the firm’s School Law Practice Group, where she advises public and independent schools and colleges and universities on a variety of general education and labor and employment issues. Kelsey’s practice focuses on student discipline, Title IX and…

Kelsey Scarlett is a member of the firm’s School Law Practice Group, where she advises public and independent schools and colleges and universities on a variety of general education and labor and employment issues. Kelsey’s practice focuses on student discipline, Title IX and sexual misconduct, policy drafting, the rights of transgender and gender-minority students, complaints from the Office of Civil Rights (OCR), and employee and student investigations. She regularly attends Title IX seminars and has received ATIXA training.

Photo of Abby Booth Abby Booth

Abby Booth is a member of Shipman’s Employment and Labor and School Law practice groups. She advises, assists, and counsels employers, including schools, on an array of labor, employment, and personnel matters.