Dept. of Education’s Proposed Rule Prompts Debate about Critical Race Theory in Schools

As the 2020-21 school year drew to a close, public and private schools across the state began receiving an influx of inquiries from parents, community members, and the media regarding the issue of “critical race theory” and curriculum.  Public school districts have received various public records requests from citizens and organizations regarding any such curriculum…

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U.S. Department of Education Issues Guidance Interpreting Title IX To Cover Discrimination Based on Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation

On June 16, 2021, the U.S. Department of Education issued a Notice of Interpretation of Title IX,  which prohibits sex discrimination in education programs receiving federal financial assistance. The  guidance does not address specific LGBTQ+ student issues that schools have been navigating in recent  years, such as names/pronouns, restroom/locker room access, and parent rights. It…

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Governor Evers Takes Action on Open Enrollment Bill

On Friday, March 26, 2021, Governor Evers signed Senate Bill 109, now 2021 Wisconsin Act 18, related to open enrollment. This Legal Update will discuss how open enrollment for the 2021-2022 school year is affected by the Governor’s actions. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many schools have been offering a virtual learning option…

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WHAT TO DO WHEN PARENTS REQUEST PRIVATE SCHOOL TUITION REIMBURSEMENT

WHAT TO DO WHEN PARENTS REQUEST PRIVATE SCHOOL TUITION REIMBURSEMENT

We have been seeing an increased number of due process hearing requests involving demands for reimbursement for unilateral private school placement by parents. The stakes in these situations are often high, particularly if the private placement selected by the parents is a residential program. Before deciding on a course of action, it is imperative to…

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Tips to ensure virtual MDRs go smoothly

special education IEPs

While manifestation determination reviews can sometimes become heated if parents disagree about the student’s misconduct being a manifestation of his disability, the nature of a virtual MDR may defuse tense feelings and keep participants focused on the matter at hand. “It’s harder to interrupt on [a videoconference] than when you’re in person,” said Alana Leffler,…

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OCR Releases New Q&A Guidance for K-12 Public Schools Regarding Educating Students with Disabilities during COVID-19

On September 28, the Department of Education Office for Civil Rights (OCR) published thirteen questions and answers pertaining to public schools in the current COVID-19 environment. While this document is not legally binding, it gives insight into the OCR’s position on various new topics. The OCR references the newest CDC guidance which encourages local communities…

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Title IX Sexual Harassment Policy Checklist

As we reviewed in a previous Legal Update, the U.S. Department of Education issued new Title IX regulations establishing requirements for a school district’s response to reports of sexual harassment in its programs or activities.  The new regulations went into effect on August 14, 2020, as schools were inundated with issues related to COVID-19 and school…

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Ensure Substitute Teachers Are Aware of Accommodations in IEPs and 504 Plans

Special Education during COVID-19

In a previous Legal Update, we discussed the importance of ensuring that regular education teachers, including substitute teachers, have access to their students’ IEPs and are aware of the specific accommodations and/or modifications that must be provided pursuant to the IEP in the regular education setting. This is especially critical during the current COVID-19 pandemic, when…

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COVID-19 Legislation: Key Provisions for Public Schools

On April 15, 2020, Governor Evers signed 2019 Wisconsin Act 185 into law.  This Legal Update focuses on the key provisions related to public school districts.      1. Accountability Reports The Department of Public Instruction (DPI) is prohibited from publishing school and school district accountability reports in the 2020-21 school year. 2. Student Assessments a. Administration of Assessments.  State…

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