Photo of Anne H. Littlefield

Anne represents schools in labor relations, employment and education law, including collective bargaining, personnel policies and practices, constitutional law, special education, student discipline, freedom of information, and education policies. She negotiates collective bargaining agreements on behalf of schools, including representation in interest arbitration proceedings as needed. Anne works with schools to address issues such as bullying and sexual harassment. She is often called upon to advise schools regarding professional boundaries and child abuse and neglect issues.  In her role as general counsel to boards of education around the state, Anne facilitates self-evaluation and goal-setting sessions. She also leads Shipman & Goodwin's model policy project, which provides policy support and guidance to a number of school districts.

Anne serves as General Counsel to Shipman & Goodwin. From 2010 through 2017, she was Co-Chair of the firm's School Law Practice Group, and from 2011 through 2017, she served on the firm's seven-member Management Committee.

All Gender Restroom SignageYesterday, in response to the withdrawal of federal guidance relating to the rights of transgender students, Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy instructed Connecticut public schools to continue to follow the withdrawn guidance, pending the release of state guidance from the Connecticut State Department of Education on the rights of transgender individuals in Connecticut schools. Specifically, Governor Malloy referred public school superintendents to the May 13, 2016 Dear Colleague Letter jointly issued by the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Department of Education, and subsequently rescinded by these agencies on February 22, 2017.
Continue Reading Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy Instructs Connecticut Public Schools to Follow Withdrawn Federal Guidance regarding Transgender Students

"All-Gender Restrooms" Sign (Close-Up)On February 22, 2017, the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education withdrew guidance for educational institutions, issued in 2015 and 2016, that took the position that the prohibitions in Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 and implementing regulations against discrimination on the basis of sex require access to sex-segregated facilities on the basis of gender identity rather than biological sex.  In the February 22, 2017 Dear Colleague Letter rescinding the prior guidance, the U.S. Department of Education noted that interpreting “sex” as referring to gender identity rather than biological sex “has given rise to significant litigation regarding school restrooms and locker rooms.”  A copy of the Dear Colleague Letter may be accessed here.
Continue Reading U.S. Departments of Justice and Education Withdraw Federal Transgender Student Guidance

Children Coloring a World MapAnne Littlefield gave the following answer as part of an interview for “How I Advise My Clients,” a Special Ed Connection® feature that provides expert opinions from attorneys and education consultants for overcoming common problems and core challenges in the field.

Download: Printable PDF

HOW I ADVISE MY CLIENTS: How should districts respond if a student with a disability engages in inappropriate behavior on the school bus? 

Districts may have questions about what disciplinary action they can take when a student with a disability exhibits problem behavior on the school bus.

For instance, how should a student’s BIP address his bus behavior? Under what circumstances is a district required to conduct a manifestation determination review for a student’s behavior on the school bus?

According to OSERS, a district may suspend a student with a disability from the school bus for behavioral issues. If the student’s IEP includes transportation as a required service, the district must treat a suspension from the school bus in the same way it would treat a suspension from school, with all of the applicable procedures and protections required under the IDEA. Questions and Answers on Serving Children with Disabilities Eligible for Transportation, 53 IDELR 268 (OSERS 2009).

Special Ed Connection® posed this issue to two school attorneys. Their advice, edited for length and clarity, is below:
Continue Reading Anne Littlefield Interviewed in Special Ed Connection Feature: How I Advise My Clients

zittounslblogyoderslbloglittlefieldslblogThe most important benefit of attending the Annual CABE/CAPSS Convention is the valuable information you take home to your community. The ideas and strategies you
Continue Reading Shipman & Goodwin Attorneys Presenting at the 2016 CT Association of Boards of Education (CABE)/CT Association of Public School Superintendents (CAPSS) Convention

GavelImage2Amid a national background of litigation concerning the U.S. Department of Education’s directives involving the rights of transgender students, on October 28, 2016, the Supreme Court of the United States granted certiorari to review the prominent 4th Circuit Court of Appeals case G.G. v. Gloucester County Board of Education, 822 F.3d 709 (4th Cir. 2016).   The case is expected to be decided before next summer and likely will shed some amount of light on this national issue.
Continue Reading United States Supreme Court to Hear Case Concerning Transgender Student Rights under Title IX

Judge Holding Documents

We have been tracking the development of litigation concerning rights, obligations, and duties with regard to transgender students as cases unfold across the country.

Earlier this summer, Texas and twelve other states challenged the propriety and legality of a joint Dear Colleague Letter (DCL) issued by the U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Department of Education on May 13, 2016 which interpreted Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Title IX) to extend antidiscrimination protections to transgender students. On Wednesday October 19, 2016, a federal district court judge for the Northern District of Texas, Judge Reed O’Connor, issued an order clarifying the scope of the preliminary injunction previously granted in the court case challenging the legality of the DCL in Texas v. U.S., No. 7:16-cv-00054-O (N. D. Tex. May 25, 2016).  The injunction is now being appealed to the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals by the defendant federal agencies.
Continue Reading Texas Judge Clarifies Scope of Transgender Guidance Injunction; Feds Appeal to 5th Circuit

yoderslbloglittlefieldslblogAnne Littlefield and Linda Yoder will present the concurrent session “ADA Accommodations for Employees: Navigating the Quicksand” on October 21st at 2:30 p.m.  This presentation
Continue Reading Anne Littlefield and Linda Yoder to Present on ADA Accommodations for Employees at COSA 2016 School Law Practice Seminar