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Monday, May 6, 2013

EducationAdmin WebAdvisor - Education Administration Headlines + More!

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Issue 25 · May 6, 2013
Amendments to a budget bill in Ohio, if passed, would jeopardize teachers who provide contraception information and "materials" or otherwise fail to toe the line on abstinence-only sex education.
A Utah school district will commence random drug testing of high school students in sports and other extracurricular activities in 2013-14. An alternative is providing information on dangerous performance-enhancing substances.
The U.S. Department of Labor released funding under the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training program, which supports collaborations between community colleges and businesses to train workers with skills that employers demand in today's economy.
Institutions of higher learning that assist their graduates in finding work in the United States, or that employ foreign nationals as faculty members or researchers, can currently submit petitions for H-1B visas for employment starting on October 1, 2013.
The high school equivalency credential offered by the GED Testing Service is undergoing a makeover to help ensure that it functions as a stepping-stone to work or higher education. It will also be fully electronic.
Webinars for Educators in May
Click for more details and to register ...
Tuesday, May 7, 2013 @ 1 PM Eastern
Correctly determining whether your teachers, faculty, administrators, coaches, and staff are entitled to the minimum wage and overtime protections of the Fair Labor Standards Act is more complicated than it appears. For example, do you know how to apply the "learned professional" exemption? An attorney will clarify how the FLSA classification rules play out in an educational setting.
Wednesday, May 8, 2013 @ 1 PM Eastern
The federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act regulates disclosure of student records and information. Violations can impede the receipt of federal higher education funding, so it's essential to understand the rules, case law, and practical dimensions of managing student records.
Tuesday, May 14, 2013 @ 1 PM Eastern
How to calculate minimum hours worked, what the intermittent leave rules require, and so many other aspects of FMLA compliance are particularly tricky for a higher education institution. Get tailored information you can apply immediately at your college or university.
Tuesday, May 14, 2013 @ 1 PM Eastern
Where do you draw the line between appropriate dress and freedom of expression? How do students' legitimate religious beliefs play into dress code requirements? School administrators seek practical guidance for navigating this sensitive area of the law and avoiding constitutional violations. An attorney experienced in student dress codes provides that guidance.
Thursday, May 16, 2013 @ 1 PM Eastern
If your K–12 school administration is not up-to-speed on the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act, record-related provisions of No Child Left Behind, and the Pupil Privacy Rights Amendment, it could lead to inappropriate disclosures of student information and mishandling of student records. Avoid sanctions by learning how to tighten up your records management practices.
Wednesday, May 29, 2013 @ 1 PM Eastern
A Justice Department settlement requires a school to make menu accommodations for students with special dietary needs. The implications are potentially far-reaching and could expose educational institutions to complaints of discrimination under the ADA by students with serious food allergies. What schools need to know about this evolving aspect of disability law.

Did You Miss Something? -- Webinars on CD Option!
What if you have a time conflict and can't participate in a webinar of interest on its scheduled date and time? Don't worry. You can still take advantage of our CD option. Soon after completion of each webinar, the program will be available on CD. Click here for the complete listing and future ordering information.
Education in the Courts
School Officials Protest Too Much ... Face Potential Liability for First Amendment Violations
The board of education of a Florida school district and three school administrators could be judged liable for violating a high school student's First Amendment rights. Last year, a student at DeSoto County High School asked for permission to participate in a National Day of Silence on April 20 to raise awareness of bullying and harassment of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) students. The student informed her principal of her plan to observe the day by wearing a t-shirt that read "DOS April 20, 2012: Shhhhh" and not speaking all day at school except when called upon in class.
Although the DeSoto County School Board has a written policy that its high school students "have the right to ... hear, examine, and express divergent points of view, including freedom of speech, written expression, and symbolic expression" and to "assemble peacefully on school grounds," that policy was not followed, the student charged in a lawsuit.
The plaintiff says that her principal threatened her with "ramifications" if she participated. According to the complaint, three appeals to the superintendent brought no relief, with the superintendent refusing to meet with the student but informing the principal to tell her that her request was "disapproved."
The student was undeterred, however. She arrived at school on April 20 wearing her t-shirt and communicating with peers and teachers with a dry erase board. During her third-period class, school administrators removed the student from class and suspended her for the day.
On February 12, 2013, the student filed suit for First Amendment injuries and also sought a preliminary injunction ordering the school district to respect her right to participate in the 2013 National Day of Silence.
On April 5, a judge for the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida ruled that the student had "established a substantial likelihood of success on the merits of her First Amendment claims," and therefore her lawsuit against school officials could go forward. "Plaintiff has ... satisfactorily established, based upon the emails of the defendants, that there is an established unwritten policy or practice absolutely banning all 'protest' speech at the DeSoto County schools that is contrary to the school board's written policy and the First Amendment," said the court.
While K-12 educators have broad latitude to restrict speech (for example, speech that interferes with discipline, invades the rights of others, is vulgar or offensive, or advocates illegal drug use), the student's actions did not cross the line, determined the court. "Plaintiff wore a non-vulgar t-shirt and remained silent at school. There were no incidents until after plaintiff was removed from her third-period class. Her third-period teacher has filed an affidavit stating he did not call on plaintiff during class and [experienced] no change or disruption in his teaching of the class. The teacher did not cause plaintiff to be removed from his class, and does not know why she was removed."
The judge denied the preliminary injunction as unnecessary to prevent future irreparable injury. In so ruling, the judge noted that school officials have promised that, this year, the student will be allowed to engage in the same activities that she was punished for the previous year. In declining to issue the injunction, the judge also noted that the principal and superintendent who were involved in the situation no longer work in the school district. Meanwhile, the student's First Amendment lawsuit against their successors and the school board, based on last year's violation of her rights, will proceed.
Read the opinion and order in Amber Hatcher v. DeSoto County School District Board of Education and Adrian Cline, as Superintendent, Shannon Fusco, as Principal, and Ermatine Jones, as Dean of Students, in their personal and official capacities, and their successors in office
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In This Issue
· Education administration, innovation, and compliance news & issues
·  FLSA classification of school employees & administrators
·  College student records management & privacy issues
·  FMLA compliance for colleges & universities
·  Student dress codes & constitutional rights
·  K–12 student records management laws & compliance
·  Food allergies as a protected disability in school food service
Education in the Courts
·  Student silent protester has First Amendment rights
Here's a Thought
Traits of a Great Teacher
"She doesn't give up, she's strategic and thoughtful about what will work for each individual student. She's always open to new ideas. If I would pass on an article about a new reading strategy, she would read it, devour it, apply it, and work with our team to get on board with it. ... She's not afraid to challenge the status quo."
-- Principal Kimberly Gordon, Lynne Thigpen Elementary School, Joliet, IL, praising teacher Stephanie Hawkins for recognition as the Illinois recipient of the 2012 National Milken Educator award. Read press release

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