School Law

For the past several years, Wisconsin has ranked near the top of the country for racial disparity in nearly every category related to the juvenile justice system.1

State and national trends also support that there is a particular group of youth of color that are uniquely susceptible to involvement in the juvenile justice system: those who have a disability. Nationally, children with disabilities are removed from school and referred to and involved in the juvenile justice system at
Continue Reading Interrupting the School to Prison Pipeline at the Intersection of Race and Disability

Often, around the time of parent-teacher conferences at the end of the first quarter or trimester of the school year, many parents become aware that their child is struggling in school. Sometimes teachers or school staff identify areas where a student is lagging behind their classmates. Sometimes parents assisting their children with schoolwork note that their child is not understanding grade-level concepts. Sometimes students themselves share their frustration with parents: whether it be refusing to go to school, statements
Continue Reading Parent-Teacher Conferences Are Happening: Know the Difference Between IEPs and 504s

It’s the start of another school year. For families of students with disabilities some extra time working with school staff before the start of the school year or early in the year can lead to success throughout the year. Here is some information we hope helps for the new school year.

IDEA, IEPs, and FAPE – Meeting the Needs of Students with Disabilities

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”) provides that every student is entitled to a free
Continue Reading Supporting Students with Disabilities – Starting the School Year Off Right

Enacted in 1972, Title IX prohibits discrimination based on sex in educational activities that receive federal funds and requires public elementary and secondary schools, as well as colleges and universities, to effectively accommodate the athletic interests and abilities of students and provide equal opportunity in the benefits, opportunities, and treatment provided for athletic teams.

While Title IX does not directly address gender identity, the Department of Education recently released a notice of proposed rulemaking related to a transgender student’s
Continue Reading All Tied Up: OCR Issues New Resources on Equal Athletic Opportunity Under Title IX

It is every student’s favorite time of the school year: Field trip season! However, for school districts across Wisconsin grappling with staffing challenges, field trips are additional areas of risk where student needs can go unmet. Such emerging needs might include accommodations for diabetes, the fastest growing chronic disease in children in the United States. On a national scale, from 2001 to 2017, the number of people under age 20 living with Type 1 diabetes increased by 45 percent.
Continue Reading Ride on the Magic School Bus: Navigating Student Needs with Staff Shortages

On December 29, 2022, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that a Washington principal violated a middle school teacher’s free speech rights by threatening discipline, if the teacher continued wearing a “Make America Great Again” (“MAGA”) hat to staff training sessions. The Court found no evidence that the teacher caused any actual disruption by repeatedly bringing or wearing the hat to teacher-only trainings. The decision can be found here.

A teacher repeatedly
Continue Reading Ninth Circuit Holds MAGA Hat is Free Speech

With just a few months left to the school year, we all look to a strong, positive finish to what again has been a challenging year for school districts. While we are hopefully moving past mask and vaccine mandate debates and other COVID-related issues, we still have those last couple of warm months to navigate with restless students who are anxious to finish the school year. History tells us that, while positive preventative measures coupled with good practices in
Continue Reading Recent Student Expulsion Decisions Provide Important Reminders to School Districts

It isn’t if, but when, the next round of cyber-attacks will happen. One common type of cyber-attack that schools face is ransomware, where a hacker takes over a school district’s computer systems and holds the systems “hostage” until the district pays a ransom or can restore the system on its own. Restoration for some districts can be nearly impossible.

Like any other multi-million-dollar organization with sensitive data, schools are unfortunately natural targets for cyber-attacks. Per one leading anti-malware provider,
Continue Reading Is Your School District Ready for the Next Round of Cyber Attacks?