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News from Thrun Law

Posted 09.24.2018

Vaping, a phenomenon in which an individual uses an e-cigarette or other electronic nicotine delivery system (ENDS) device to inhale vapor, has surged in popularity among students in recent years. The FDA’s definition of “tobacco product” now includes ENDS devices, but many board policies and handbook lan­guage on the use of tobacco products do not encompass ENDS devices or their component parts.

Posted 09.01.2018

On July 3, 2018, the U.S. Departments of Justice and Education jointly released a new “Dear Colleague Letter” (DCL) withdrawing the following previously released guidance documents:

Posted 08.30.2018

Public Act 256 of 2017, effective March 28, 2018, amends many parts of the Child Care Organizations Act. One of the most signifi­cant changes is the new requirement that all child care center staff who have unsupervised access to children (employees, contractors, and volunteers) must undergo a newly created “comprehensive background check,” which includes an FBI fingerprint records check. All child care center staff who will be unsupervised with children must have these new background checks completed by September 30, 2018.

A comprehensive background check includes:

Posted 07.23.2018

Section 1274a of the Revised School Code authorizes schools to undertake energy improvement projects and finance them through a variety of meth­ods. Under Public Act 23 of 2017, the Michigan Legislature previously amended Section 1274a to allow school energy improvement projects to include “operational improvements” in addition to traditional energy conservation measures, such as lighting retrofits or HVAC upgrades. Because that amendment did not define “operational improvements,” there had been some uncertainty about the permissible scope of ener­gy im­provement projects.

Posted 07.16.2018

Following a trend set by several federal courts in the past year, two more federal courts recently issued opinions supporting transgender students’ rights to access restrooms and locker rooms that correspond with their gender identity. Grimm v Gloucester Co Sch Bd, Case No. 4-54 (ED Va, May 22, 2018); Doe v Boyertown Area Sch Dist, Case No. 17-3113 (CA 3, May 24, 2018).

Posted 06.28.2018

In a case handled by Thrun Law Firm, the Michigan Court of Appeals recently affirmed a Michigan Employment Relations Com­mission decision, finding that the MEA committed an unfair labor practice by demanding to arbitrate a district’s decision to not recall a teacher. MEA v Vassar Pub Schs, COA Docket No. 337899 (May 22, 2018).

Posted 06.18.2018

As the school year comes to a close, school districts must act soon to enroll schools of choice students for the 2018-2019 school year.

Posted 06.11.2018

On May 9, 2018, Governor Snyder signed a package of three laws aimed at protecting student sexual assault victims who attend school with the perpetrator. These laws, which will take effect on August 8, 2018, may have significant implications for our clients.

Posted 06.01.2018

As the school year winds down, we recommend contacting your favorite Thrun Law Firm attorney to get back-to-school professional development sessions on the calendar! Back-to-school is a busy time, and many schools have already scheduled professional development. We recommend considering professional development in the following areas:

Posted 05.14.2018

On March 5, 2018, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights released its new case processing manual (“CPM”), which details its proce­dures for investigating, resolving, and dismissing complaints. The updated procedures contain many important changes, some of which are highlighted below.

Complaints

Posted 05.07.2018

With high school graduation fast approaching, we are providing several recommended strategies for ad­dressing common graduation-related legal issues.

Diplomas and “Walking” at Graduation

Posted 04.27.2018

As part of our service to retainer clients, Thrun Law Firm, P.C. will host its annual client seminars at five locations this spring. Our spring seminars are a 30-year tradition and are offered at no charge to our retainer clients. For the first time, each seminar will conclude with an attorney Q & A panel to address pertinent client questions.

Please make sure to pass this information along to those in the central office, principals, and oth­er building-level administrators who may benefit from attending.              

Posted 04.26.2018

Glen Lake Community Schools’ former superintendent (“Superintendent”) resigned a few years ago after the board or­dered an independent audit of whether the district had appropriately tracked administrators’ time off. The audit was ordered following the Superintendent’s use of leave, including leave protected by the Family and Medical Leave Act. After resign­ing, the Superintendent sued the district, alleging that she was “constructively discharged” for exercising her FMLA leave and that her FMLA rights had been unlawfully “interfered with” by the board’s action.

Posted 04.15.2018

Public Act 23 of 2018 amends Section 705 of the Revised School Code to allow public school academies (PSAs) and intermediate school districts (ISDs) to re­ceive a portion of the revenue generated from a re­gional enhancement millage approved or renewed on or after May 15, 2018.

Posted 04.09.2018

Recently, the Sixth Circuit issued a unanimous decision that established “discrimination on the basis of transgender and transitioning status violates Title VII.” In EEOC v RG & GR Harris Funeral Homes, Inc, the employer, a funeral home, fired an employee, Aimee Stephens, who was in the process of transitioning from male to female. The employee sued, claiming that the employer discriminated against her on the basis of sex.