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“Sensitivity Training” for North Platte Staff Karen Haase Harding & Shultz (402) 434-3000 khaase@hslegalfirm.com H & S School Law @KarenHaase


The Plan for Today


The Plan for Today  Confidentiality of Student Information  Harassment and Bullying Issues  Acceptance of Disabled Students


Confidentiality


FERPA  Family Education Rights and Privacy Act (sometimes called “The Buckley Amendment”)  Response to perception of • Secrecy of files from students and parents • Disclosure of information to third parties


What does FERPA do? Staff may not disclose personally identifiable information about students, nor permit inspection of their records by third parties, without the prior written consent, unless such inspection is permitted by the exceptions in FERPA.


What does FERPA do? Staff may not disclose personally identifiable information about students, nor permit inspection of their records by third parties, without the prior written consent, unless such inspection is permitted by the exceptions in FERPA.


What does FERPA do? Staff may not disclose personally identifiable information about students, nor permit inspection of their records by third parties, without the prior written consent, unless such inspection is permitted by the exceptions in FERPA.


What does FERPA do? Staff may not disclose personally identifiable information about students, nor permit inspection of their records by third parties, without the prior written consent, unless such inspection is permitted by the exceptions in FERPA.


What does FERPA do? Staff may not disclose personally identifiable information about students, nor permit inspection of their records by third parties, without the prior written consent, unless such inspection is permitted by the exceptions in FERPA.


What does FERPA do? Staff may not disclose personally identifiable information about students, nor permit inspection of their records by third parties, without the prior written consent, unless such inspection is permitted by the exceptions in FERPA.


What does FERPA do? Staff may not disclose personally identifiable information about students, nor permit inspection of their records by third parties, without the prior written consent, unless such inspection is permitted by the exceptions in FERPA.


L.S. v. Mount Olive Bd. Of Ed. (D.N.J. 2011)

 Catcher in the Rye Assignment  Parent sued • School • Principal • Teacher • School psych.  Court: teacher and psych personally liable – other school defendants dismissed


Letter to Wolf (FPCO 2011)

   

Principal and teacher at volleyball game Parent sued school Parent also filed complaint with FPCO FPCO • “discussion should not have occurred in this public location and [staff] exercised poor judgment in breaching confidence” • Related lawsuit settled


Letter to Anonymous (FPCO 2013)

 Teacher’s practice was to e-mail each student who failed a test with a “remediation form”  Accidentally sent e-mail to entire group  Asked FPCO for guidance  FPCO • Violation of FERPA • Contacted school • Launched an investigation


MP v. Indep. Sch. Dist. 721 (8th Cir. 2006)

 Student had schizophrenia • Parents and school fighting over services • Para disclosed his diagnosis to students • Student then bullied and harassed  8th Circuit: school could be sued directly without administrative exhaustion


E.B. v. Verniero (3d Cir. 1996)

 Plaintiff appeared on sex offender registry  Statute made SO confidential prior to school action  Principal told secretary, secretary blabbed  Claim for damages allowed to proceed


Harassment and Bullying Issues


Haskins v. Appomattox Co. Pub. Sch. (Va. 2013)

 10-year old student alleged harassed on the bus by two 15-year olds  Bus driver did not intervene  Parents suing school and driver individuall  Seeking $8 million


Patterson v. Hudson Area Sch. Dist. (6th Cir. 2010)

 Student viewed by peers as gay  Middle school: name calling and verbal harassment.  high school: • pushed into lockers • “a naked student rubbing against him” in a locker room.


Patterson v. Hudson Area Sch. Dist. (6th Cir. 2010)

 School had anti-bullying policy  On some occasions bullies reported and punished; other times teachers ignored  One teacher: “How does it feel to be hit by a girl?”  Jury awarded $800,000


Phillips v. Robertson County Bd. (Tenn. Ct. App. 2012)

 Student with Asperger syndrome • Private counselor sent letter • Parent constantly reporting bullying and asking for help

• School developed system for kid • Preferential seating • Card system to signal when feeling bullied or stressed


Phillips v. Robertson County Bd. (Tenn. Ct. App. 2012)

 Teacher left student classroom unsupervised • Student struck in the eye by bully • Sustained permanent damage

 Teacher testified • Didn’t know about disability • Didn’t know about accommodations

 Court ordered $300,000 judgment


Estate of Lance v. Kyer (Texas 2010)

 9 year old boy with disabilities hanged himself in school restroom after being bullied  Parents sued claiming disability discrimination  Court: district personnel had a consistent policy of ignoring bullying against all students, so no discrimination


Kendall v. West Haven Dep’t. of Ed. (Conn. 2000)

 Elementary special ed student injured by another student • Parents called and reported prior incidents to assistant principal • Assistant principal said she would take care of it • Assistant principal then called out of building


Kendall v. West Haven Dep’t. of Ed. (Conn. 2000)

 The student seriously injured when the bully attacked him in the school cafeteria.  Court awarded $67,000 in damages  Found the assistant principal personally liable


Acceptance of Disabled Students


Victoria Ind. Sch. Dist., (Tex. 2010)

 Student with fetal alcohol syndrome, developmental disability • Academically 3-4 years behind peers • Disruptive and non-compliant: fighting, tardy, walking out of class

 Parent told counselor family was considering residential placement because student was difficult at home as well


Victoria Ind. Sch. Dist., (Tex. 2010)

 Teacher e-mail #1: "Please promise that IF [student] DOESN'T get into a home somewhere that YOU will still insist that student goes to [a different] campus [Student] is very hateful to [aide] and myself ... Things have not improved at all. Student picks at those student can intimidate and I will have still have [sic] my other students next year and the personalities are clashing big time. I am so sorry I have to tell you but I can Not deal w/[student] much longer. I am trying to hang in until the end of May but I may have to take a medical leave if I don't get some relief.


Victoria Ind. Sch. Dist., (Tex. 2010)

 Teacher e-mail #1 (con’t): [The counselor] will not help you, do not be fooled, she is pussy footing around. [Principal] cannot help you, the District WILL NOT help you financially. You are wasting your time by contacting [ special ed director] or [superintendent]. [Special ed director] is a sweetheart but they have NO intention of putting money out for [student]. They are stalling, trying to pacify you. YOU know that I can bet my life on it.


Victoria Ind. Sch. Dist., (Tex. 2010)

 Teacher e-mail #1 (con’t): They are NOT going to fork out money ... they have already put a hold on any new special ed teachers being hired ... they have got to pay for those two new high schools. If you don't believe it call some school board members ... which by the way we need to vote them off!!!


Victoria Ind. Sch. Dist., (Tex. 2010)

 Teacher e-mail #2: "I havn't called you but DAILY [student] is [tardy] 2 or more times and constantly late from lunch. [Student] told me that student would f*ck me over ... student said it to me in class ... I should have written student up BUT they won't do anything about it so what is the use? I am sick and tired and I am sorry that [student] is on my last nerve … One day someone is going to knock student's socks off …. A regular ed kid will do student in, if not some thug if student acts that way with them.


Victoria Ind. Sch. Dist., (Tex. 2010)

 Teacher e-mail #3: "Please, please send student to the [ ] campus next year if you can't afford a home for student. Maybe they can help student, I can't help student behaviourly [sic]. [Student] needs to be in a behavior unit with a strong personality Male teacher. [Student's] ways are beyond me. I am sorry."


Victoria Ind. Sch. Dist., (Tex. 2010)

 Teacher said she was just frustrated when she e-mailed  Parent requested an 1:1 aid for student.  Teacher: won’t make any difference “student does what he wants once he’s made up his mind”  Parents privately placed, sued school


Unified Sch. Dist. No. 259 (Kan. 1999)

 3d grade student with dyslexia attended magnet school  Student struggled with reading  Mid-way through the year, teacher told parent she had done every thing she could for student  Parents sued  Hearing officer: IEP appropriate, teacher failed to implement, “gave up”


“Sensitivity Training” for North Platte Staff Karen Haase Harding & Shultz (402) 434-3000 khaase@hslegalfirm.com H & S School Law @KarenHaase


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