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If you were to ask Apple’s Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, or Mark Zuckerberg’s Jarvis (aka Morgan Freeman) what legal issues often arise with the use of personal work phones, they would hopefully answer, “Public information requests, records retention, and security concerns.” If by chance 2017 technology has yet to discover the rugged frontier of education law, read on for a short synopsis of the common pitfalls of personal work phones.
The Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) recently amended the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act, 42 U.S.C. 11431, to address the educational effects of homelessness. ESSA alters the definition of homeless, commissions new methods of identifying homeless students, attempts to keep students in their original school district as long as possible, and creates many additional notice, privacy, and referral obligations for districts. As before, McKinney-Vento services are provided through the state’s local education agencies (called LEAs in the law, but Texas calls them “districts’ or “charters”) and coordinated by the locally appointed liaison.
Do you know whether you are a reimbursing employer for purposes of the Texas Unemployment Compensation Act (TUCA)? It pays to know the difference in light of some changes in the law enacted during the last session.
Does your district have a Facebook page? A Twitter feed? How about an Instagram or other social media account? How about your sports teams? Your individual campuses? Chances are that your district has at least some official social media presence, even if it’s not actively managed or maintained – and chances are that you’re forgetting something important when it comes to each and every official post made by your district. So I have just one more question (and I promise that this isn’t a joke): are you maintaining records of those social media posts in accordance with the state’s record retention schedules?
I recognize that I am sticking my foot in a hornet’s nest by daring to write an article about this subject. Sides have been taken, and both sides are polarized and ready for a legal battle. This article is an attempt at an objective look at the legal issues.
Preventive Law: The Importance of Distinguishing Between Standard Grievances and Claims of Harassment and Discrimination under Policies DIA and FFH
Most Texas school district administrators are familiar and comfortable with their district policies concerning grievances filed by employees, and students or their parents. District policies DGBA, related to grievances filed by employees, and FNG, concerning grievances filed by students or their parents, require administrators to conduct what is commonly referred to as a “Stop, Look, and Listen.” In these processes, the administrator will typically review the written grievance filed by the employee, student or parent, meet in person with the grievant, and make a determination as to whether the requested relief can be granted. Often these matters are resolved without a comprehensive investigation. Trouble can arise, however, when administrators mistake or confuse the limited requirements of a “Stop, Looks and Listen” under polices DGBA or FNG with the more rigorous requirements of investigating claims of harassment or discrimination under district policies DIA or FFH. Below are five tips for successfully handling complaints of harassment or discrimination that can help administrators remain in compliance with district policy and federal law, and limit potential liability for both the school district and the administrator in his or her personal capacity.
Texas Senate Bill 507, codified as Texas Education Code section 29.022, was enacted to promote student safety by requiring schools to install video cameras in certain special education classrooms. School districts and open enrollment charter schools should begin developing their policies and procedures now in order to be ready to roll the cameras by the start of the 2016-17 school year.
It's springtime and it's Texas. Bonds are passing and storms are brewing. Minds are turning to the construction of new projects, but you cannot forget that you still need to protect the old ones. It’s springtime and there’s a lot to do, so let’s get started.
On March 14, 2016, the Department of Labor (DOL) forwarded to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) its final changes to proposed revisions to the rules that determine which employees are exempt from overtime and minimum wage requirements. According to the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), the new rules are expected to affect millions of employees currently considered exempt from overtime, requiring them to be reclassified as nonexempt. Almost immediately, however, on March 17, 2016, House and Senate Republicans introduced legislation to block the rules from going into effect.
TEA’s division of Educator Certification and Standards is aggressively pursuing possible certificate sanctions against superintendents who, for whatever reason, have failed to notify the Agency when certified employees resign, are terminated from employment, or nonrenewed in the face of evidence that the educator engaged in activity or conduct that would warrant a report under Tex. Educ. Code § 21.006 (b). Some of the situations of which we have knowledge involved instructional aides.
As part of a push for additional “transparency” in government, the Legislature came up with a “Disclosure of Interested Parties” law. Enacted as part of HB 1295 and now codified in the Texas Government Code1, this law provides that a governmental entity may not enter into certain contracts unless the vendor submits a “disclosure of interested parties…at the time the [vendor] submits the signed contract.” The law also requires that the governmental entity submit the received disclosure to the Texas Ethics Commission.