When a child’s parents have undergone a divorce or another legal proceeding adjudicating rights and duties to a child, there is some basic information to be aware of as it relates to the child’s education. In the context of special education, a parent may present you with a copy of a court order and demand that it be followed in the process of providing services to the student.

In May 2020, President Trump’s Department of Education issued new Title IX regulations, effective August 14, 2020. The regulations resulted in a sea change in the handling of sexual harassment complaints in schools. This article will start by covering 20 new tasks for Title IX Coordinators under the regulations that districts should be aware of now and will close by examining the possible fate of the regulations in a Biden administration later.

My favorite article that I have written over the years is one on official state holidays and recognitions. I find it fascinating to see which lobbyists succeed in recognitions for their cause. I look at this calendar and wonder why Monarch butterflies and veterinarian technicians get their own week, Lung Cancers Awareness gets only one day, Gold Star mothers get a day but not fathers, and there are no recognition days in December?

A chill in the air means two things in Texas: school’s back in session, and football is here. With most districts already beginning their football schedule, some have discovered the dilemma of how to prevent further outbreaks of COVID-19 while still maintaining their spot under the Friday Night Lights. The current executive order in Texas requires face masks to be worn unless you’re in a county with less than 20 active cases or have filed exemption paperwork. As of today, only 57 counties are exempt from this mandate, and these counties have to face the challenge of remaining under 20 reported cases. With new teams every Friday filling the bleachers from different high infection-rate counties, people are now in close quarters without masks to watch their teams play. And, as Homecoming fast approaches, alumni from all across the country may be bringing their germs with them as they scream the fight song. It’s time to put a winning strategy in place before the impending flu season outshines playoffs.

No, not John Bolton’s book. Ambassador Bolton’s book title comes from the song from the musical Hamilton. “The Room Where it Happens,” tells the story of the secret meeting between Alexander Hamilton, Thomas Jefferson, and John Madison, that led to Washington DC becoming our nation’s capital in exchange for a federal financial system designed by Alexander Hamilton, our nation’s first Treasury Secretary. Yes, I admit that I am a history junkie and a Hamilton groupie: I love the musical and actually have visited Hamilton’s home (Hamilton Grange) in New York City, his grave (Trinity Church Cemetery), Weehawken (the duel location), and even visited Aaron Burr’s grave (Princeton, NJ).

By August 14, 2020, school districts must implement OCR’s new Title IX regulations, which create novel roles for school personnel. Districts need to decide now who will be assigned to each role and ensure they are trained before school starts.

Does it seem to anyone else that the laws regarding transmissible disease and illness only came into existence after COVID-19 arrived to dominate our daily lives? Each week we wait breathlessly for a new direction (or some direction) as to how to respond when our students and employees are confronted with the prospect of walking into the school. At no time in modern history has this yearly ritual been the object of such dread. While children may still worry over whether their new clothes will pass muster, parents have to decide if they can afford to keep their children home. A parent who cannot keep their child at home sends them to you in hopes that you will protect them from being infected by “other students.”

Texas ends this school year in an unprecedented situation with the closure of schools due to the COVID-19 pandemic. School district special education departments are in an especially difficult position because the requirement to provide a Free Appropriate Public Education continues, despite the effects of the pandemic. In this time of uncertainty, we recommend that school administrators work closely with their special education departments to support their efforts to provide services to students.

We get questions at this time of year regarding music at graduation. The first most common question is “Can the school use Pomp and Circumstance as the entry/exit music?” The question arises because the school has been cautious about using music that is protected by copyright. The person who owns the copyright in a musical work owns the right to determine if the work 0may be performed publicly, though this right is not absolute and is tempered by the doctrine of “fair use.”

With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent school shutdowns across the nation forcing districts to transition to remote learning to educate kids, there has been a complete upheaval in terms of how we deliver and collect information about our students. Teachers are reaching out virtually—through video and teleconferencing—at untraditional times of the day, to entire groups of students and their parents. To paraphrase the Secretary of Education, it is the “ingenuity, innovation and grit” of our educators that has given rise to new situations and new questions surrounding student privacy.

General elections are next scheduled in Texas for May 2, 2020. Whether any elections take place on that date remains to be seen. For Texas school districts, there are issues concerning whether they should conduct elections at that time or postpone until November. While that question has been our primary consideration, there is also a related and additional question: How do we inspire voter turnout, now and going forward? School districts, educators and administrators have an interest in getting out the vote and in encouraging student voting. Below we will consider issues related to making determinations about conducting or postponing elections, how those decisions may affect voter turnout, and methods to increase turnout going forward from these strange days.

If the property the district wishes to sell contains a “facility” (undefined, but could mean any building), the district must first offer the property to any charter schools with boundaries that overlap the district boundaries. The district is not required to accept an offer from a charter school. Tex. Educ. Code § 11.1542.