Federal and State Role in Education

Dome of State House in Hartford, ConnecticutEarlier this month, the General Assembly passed House Bill 7276, now Public Act 17-220, which contains a number of provisions aimed at providing “mandate relief” to boards of education.  Section 5 of Public Act 17-220, effective July 1, 2017, makes significant changes to the physical restraint and seclusion training requirements that were enacted as part of Public Act 15-141 (now codified at Conn. Gen. Stat. § 10-236b).  While this new law must still must be signed by the Governor to become law, school districts may wish to consider these revisions as they plan for staff professional development.
Continue Reading Legislature Revises Physical Restraint and Seclusion Training Requirements

Bathroom signIn March of 2017, the Supreme Court of the United States remanded the high profile transgender student rights case, Gloucester County School Board v. G.G.
Continue Reading Fourth Circuit Reverses Preliminary Injunction in Transgender Student Rights Case; Adds its Two Cents

School classroom in Japanese high schoolIEPs Must Be Reasonably Calculated to Enable Appropriate Progress in Light of Child’s Circumstances

For the first time in nearly 35 years, the Supreme Court of the United States has addressed the legal standard by which courts determine whether a school district has provided a student with a disability a “free appropriate public education” (FAPE) through an individualized education program (IEP) under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Specifically, in Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District RE-1, No. 15-827 (U.S. March 22, 2017), the Court held in a unanimous opinion authored by Chief Justice John Roberts that, “[t]o meet its substantive obligation under the IDEA, a school must offer an IEP reasonably calculated to enable a child to make progress appropriate in light of the child’s circumstances.” Id. at 11 (slip op.).
Continue Reading Supreme Court Clarifies FAPE Standard in Endrew F. Case

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students, Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy instructed Connecticut public schools to continue to follow the withdrawn guidance, pending the release of state guidance from the Connecticut State Department of Education on the rights of transgender individuals in Connecticut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