Related to: Department of Education

CDC Relaxes In-School Masking Guidelines For Vaccinated Students And Staff

On Friday July 9, 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) relaxed its guidance on mask-wearing within K-12 schools, advising that vaccinated teachers and students no longer need to wear masks inside school buildings. In anticipation of the 2021-2022 school year, the CDC published new guidelines, highlighting the need for flexible, context-specific decision-making…

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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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Supreme Court Rules in Student Free Speech Case

On June 23, 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in Mahanoy Area School District v. B.L., finding in favor of the student plaintiff (B.L.) in a highly anticipated school speech case. The Supreme Court held that, though public schools may have a special interest in regulating certain off-campus student speech, the interests offered…

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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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Wisconsin Supreme Court Strikes Down Dane County Order Closing Schools

Today, on June 11, 2021, in the matter of James v. Heinrich, 2021 WI 58, the Wisconsin Supreme Court ruled that that local health officers do not have the statutory power to close schools under Wisconsin Statute § 252.03. Additionally, because the schools involved in the case were private religious institutions, the Court held that…

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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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Federal Court of Appeals Allows Transgender Student’s Title IX Claim to Move Forward, Defers to DOE’s Interpretation of Title IX Regulations

Last week, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a lower court’s decision dismissing a transgender student’s Title IX discrimination claim against his school district. Notably, the Fourth Circuit deferred to the Department of Education’s interpretation of the Title IX regulations in making its decision. Because the Fourth Circuit is the highest court to have…

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