Hundreds of people rallied outside the Texas attorney general’s office Tuesday as the United States Supreme Court heard arguments in a case that could decide the fate of young undocumented people, often referred to as “Dreamers.”  The court heard a class action suit Tuesday to decide whether President Donald Trump’s repeal of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy is constitutional. In 2012, the Obama Administration instituted DACA, which grants temporary protection from deportation to more than 700,000 young adults. view article arw

The changes Tatum ISD is making to its dress code are not enough, say a grandmother and mother at the heart of a recent controversy with the district, and their attorney is questioning the motives behind the superintendent’s announcement Monday that the district is dropping its Head Start program. Edwina “Randi” Woodley’s and Kambry Cox’s boys were “unenrolled” from the district after the women voiced issues with the hair and grooming policy in the dress code. They say the changes leave the dress code, which has been called racially discriminatory, still biased against gender. view article arw

The Supreme Court said Tuesday that a survivor and relatives of victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting can pursue their lawsuit against the maker of the rifle used to kill 26 people. The justices rejected an appeal from Remington Arms that argued it should be shielded by a 2005 federal law preventing most lawsuits against firearms manufacturers when their products are used in crimes. The case is being watched by gun control advocates, gun rights supporters and gun manufacturers across the country, as it has the potential to provide a roadmap for victims of other mass shootings to circumvent the federal law and sue the makers of firearm. view article arw

In 2015 Judge Janis Jack ruled the Texas foster care system was broken and ordered the state to make changes, including around the clock supervision by adults who are awake for foster children in a group setting. Almost five years later, the Department of Family and Protective Services have not implemented her orders. Now, Jack is suing the state of Texas. Jack announced Tuesday until the problems are fixed the state will be fined $50,000 a day. That amount will double later this month if the foster care system still hasn’t changed. view article arw

AUSTIN — For the fourth year in a row, Texas “needs assistance” complying with federal law to provide special education services to children with disabilities, according to the U.S. Department of Education.  Texas has earned the same rating every summer since 2016 under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) despite a push to improve student access to special education services in light of revelations the state had illegally capped how many children should get them.  The Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services offered little detail as to why the state received the rating in a June letter to Texas Education Agency Commissioner Mike Morath, though the TEA said the designation is due to low student test scores on a national standardized test. view article arw

University of Houston student Valerie Smith sat in the front row of her classroom, drawing and labeling boxes with fluorescent colored pens. But what looks like doodles on a page in her notebook are in fact notes to help her remember some of the basics of cloud computing — a newer technological venture for many companies and Texas educational institutions.  Cloud computing, a practice that allows the storage, management and processing of data through remote servers on the Internet rather than a local or physical computer (think Google Drive), is becoming more and more common, and education leaders want to prepare students for related job opportunities as more companies migrate their systems to the cloud. view article arw

The Decatur ISD trustees approved an agreement reached between Carly Cloud's attorney and the district's attorney to resolve the former Decatur softball coach's Level III grievance. view article arw

The attorney for Vermilion Parish Superintendent Jerome Puyau says they are going to take their case to the Louisiana Supreme Court after the Third Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed Puyau’s lawsuit earlier this week.  The ruling from the appeals court affirmed a judge’s decision that the January 2018 meeting where the superintendent signed a new contract to be null and void.  Attorney Lane Roy says that despite the absence of a contract, the superintendent will keep his job for the time being. view article arw

AUSTIN — Jesse Alvarez may be in his late teens, but he functions on a first or second grade level. He has fetal alcohol syndrome, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and a learning disability, requiring his father Alfredo Alvarez to make most of his son’s decisions for him, according to court records. Alvarez was concerned the school district wasn’t meeting Jesse’s needs in May and asked for a hearing, but says he was told by a special education officer that he could no longer advocate for his son because Jesse had turned 18.  Now Alvarez and special education watchdog groups contend Texas is violating federal law by refusing to allow guardians to look out for certain students after they become legal adults. view article arw

Lavaca County prosecutor Stuart Fryer is requesting a visiting judge preside over the criminal cases against three Hallettsville ISD officials.  Lavaca County Judge Tramer Woytek agreed Thursday to a visiting judge and said he would appoint one to preside over the cases.  The three indicted Hallettsville school officials are accused of failing to report allegations of student abuse earlier this year. view article arw

The Texas Supreme Court has declined to step in Kilgore ISD’s ongoing homestead exemption debate. Twice.  Earlier this month, the state’s highest judicial body denied a motion for rehearing filed by Kilgore ISD in the ongoing lawsuit Kilgore ISD v. Axberg, which revolves around the district’s repeal of a local option homestead exemption in 2015. District officials have yet to weigh in on the latest development in the lawsuit, pending an update from the lawyers handling the case.  On Sept. 16, the Kilgore ISD board of trustees met in closed session with the school’s attorney, Dennis Eichelbaum.  Superintendent Andy Baker said the board has not held any additional meetings on the matter since the last motion for rehearing was filed. view article arw

A great article from the Travis County area - js - Texans will vote on 10 amendments to the state constitution. Closer to home, Austinites will decide the fate of two city propositions.  Here’s what you need to know before you head to the polls. view article arw

The Midway Independent School District has offered to settle a lawsuit alleging it violated the religious rights of a student who is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation. During last year’s commencement ceremony, an assistant principal required the student to remove a graduation cap bedecked with traditional Cherokee beads and a sacred eagle feather, according to the lawsuit, which remains pending in 414th District Court. view article arw

Trustee faces 2 court hearings

November 0108:40 AM
 

Nearly four months after his arrest on a driving while intoxicated charge, school board President Michael Vargas faces two court hearings today, including one in which a judge will consider a petition calling for his removal from office. At 8:30 a.m., Vargas is expected to appear for a compliance hearing in Cameron County Court At Law No. 5 as a result of the Class B misdemeanor charge. view article arw

On September 1, 2019, Texas House Bill 2840 relating to the public’s ability to address open meetings of Texas governmental bodies, including public school districts, went into effect as codified at Section 551.007 of the Texas Government Code. The Bill is intended to provide the public with additional input into decisions made by school districts and other governmental bodies, but has also created considerable confusion as to what is required under the law, what is permissible, and what school districts can do to balance the interests of the public against the district’s interest in effective government and protection of employee and faculty rights.

An assistant principal at a North Texas middle school was arrested after being accused of sexually abusing a student, police said Wednesday. McKinney police said Kirby Glynn Smith, 50, was charged with continuous sexual abuse of a child after a boy reported the man to authorities. Smith was booked into jail on a $500,000 bond. view article arw

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – A Dallas charter school CEO was convicted in a corruption scandal, yet she returned to school just days after a federal jury found her guilty.  Former Nova Academy CEO Donna Woods, 65, faces up to 80 years in prison after a jury earlier this month found the school administrator guilty of multiple counts of fraud. view article arw

Randi Woodley, the Tatum grandmother at the heart of the dress code controversy, was arrested after continuing to send her grandson to school after he had been expelled and for discrepancies involving who had official guardianship, according to an arrest warrant obtained by KETK News. view article arw

A former Rockwall ISD middle school orchestra teacher was arrested by Rockwall authorities Monday on a charge of Improper Relationship Between Educator and Student, according to Rockwall ISD. Marc Allison was arrested Monday, jail records show. Rockwall ISD sent a letter to parents Monday saying Allison, a former orchestra teacher at Cain Middle School, had been arrested. The district knew in July about Allison's "conduct that violated Board Policy," according to the letter. Allison was placed on administrative leave, as per district policy, while the district investigated claims against him. view article arw

After Southside Independent School District community members accused school district officials of restricting parents who didn’t have Texas driver’s licenses from entering school campuses, the superintendent has taken steps to assure parents that a range of identification forms are now acceptable. view article arw

The wife of Clint school board trustee Fred Martinez is not allowed on district property as of Tuesday, after she did not apologize to a student for allegedly taking a Mexican flag from his hand at a football game and telling him to "go back to Mexico." Trustees voted Oct. 17 to require Rebecca Martinez to "issue a written apology for her unruly and substantially disruptive conduct on district property" at the Sept. 27 Clint High School football game. They gave her until Monday, Oct. 21, to submit the apology to the superintendent's office or risk being prohibited from entering district property through May 2020. view article arw

TATUM, Texas (KETK) – Randi Woodley, the grandma of the Tatum child at the heart of a dress code controversy, was arrested on Friday for perjury and child endangerment, according to Rusk County judicial records.  Woodley was booked into the Rusk County jail and is currently being held on a $27,500 bond. It is unclear what led to her arrest. view article arw

A Kansas high school student was allowed to remain in school after he was accused of sexually assaulting a female classmate, even though he was facing charges for other sex crimes, according to a federal lawsuit. The suit alleges that the Royal Valley School District was aware that the male student was a "known danger" and already had been charged with sex crimes in two other cases when the girl reported that she had been raped at school in November 2017, reports The Kansas City Star. Both students attended Royal Valley High School in Hoyt, about 17 miles (27 kilometers) north of Topeka. view article arw

Prosecutors say an Alief ISD cafeteria worker was driving at more than double the posted speed limit in a school zone when she hit a Hastings High School student with her car. On Thursday afternoon, a hearing officer set Chinyere Iheagwam’s bond at $30,000 for her aggravated assault with a deadly weapon charge during a probable cause hearing in downtown Houston. view article arw

A Tatum family is planning to file a lawsuit against the school district over what they are calling a “discriminatory” dress code. This comes as the latest development in a dispute centered around the length of a student’s hair. Randi Woodley said the district told her that her young grandson’s hair is too long. view article arw

The grandmother of a 4-year-old who is at the center of dress code controversy at Tatum ISD was arrested following a meeting with the district Tuesday. The issue stems from concerns over the district's dress code policy. Randi Woodley says a district staff member said her 4-year-old grandson's hair, Michael Trimble's hair is distracting. There were other concerns with Kambry Cox son's dreadlock hair style being out of compliance.  view article arw

A Tatum ISD mother and grandmother are planning to take the district to court, after the school board on Monday unanimously denied their grievances about the expulsion of their children over dress code issues. The school board’s attorney, meanwhile, denied Monday that the children have technically been expelled and insisted, instead, that the issues at hand have to do with a grandmother’s manipulation of the Head Start system and a mother enrolling her child in a district in which he doesn’t live. view article arw

Texas Senate Bill 944, which went into effect on September 1, 2019, amends Chapter 552 of the Texas Government Code (the Code) by clarifying the requirements for preservation and production of public information on the personal electronic devices of governmental officers and employees. The question is whether and to what extent the law has actually been changed. While the primary tenet embodied by Senate Bill 944—the requirement to preserve public information and foster governmental transparency—has not been significantly altered, the real-world processes for both school district employees and the district itself have undergone a meaningful change.

Whenever rumors of sexual harassment start to circulate, open records requests are sure to follow. The best way to control the narrative is to always create an adequate summary of any sexual harassment investigation as soon as the investigation is concluded.

A former student has filed a lawsuit against Dallas ISD after he lost his status as his high school’s salutatorian a day before graduation due to a last minute change in rankings. In June, the district apologized after class rankings at Woodrow Wilson High School were changed right before graduation because of a calculation error. Now a former student is suing Dallas ISD, claiming that the change will affect his applications to universities and employers. view article arw

Preventive Law: Vexing Sexting

August 0108:31 AM
 

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently ordered Facebook to pay $5 billion in fines due to violating the privacy rights of its users, but the FTC is not the only entity dealing with digital criminal activity. As the phenomenon of teen sexting continues to grow, school districts must be ready to address the fallout when it enters the schoolhouse.

Nonrenewal “season” ended last month. That is the season that poorer performing employees are asked if they prefer to resign or be proposed for nonrenewal, and when probationary contract teachers are given a similar option, whether to resign or be terminated effective the end of the school year. Invariably most employees prefer not to have a termination or proposal for nonrenewal on their records and choose to resign.

Not my words, but also not wrong words. This is an article about hiring design professionals—not about competitive bidding. In fact, as indicated by the title it is about some of the legal and practical reasons that Competitive Bidding for design professionals is almost universally shunned in the United States. Astronaut John Glenn once joked about how he felt before his 1962 trip aboard Friendship 7:

Preventive Law: Measles!!!

May 0208:31 AM
 

Texas is in the middle of the biggest measles outbreak in years. Across the nation, the 2019 outbreak is the largest (more than 681 reported cases, including at least 10 in Texas) in the United States since the year 2000, when the disease was declared eliminated. Other infectious diseases that were considered rare, such as whooping cough, are also on the rise.

This Spring, several districts across the country have received letters from the OCR concerning their Civil Rights Data Collection (“CRDC”).  The CRDC is a data collection conducted every other year, and per Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’ January 2019 announcement is part of “a new initiative to address the inappropriate use of restraint and seclusion in order to protect children with disabilities.”  A critical component to the initiative requires data quality reviews of 2015-2016 data submissions regarding instances of restraint or seclusion.