EAST LANSING: 517.484.8000 | NOVI: 248.533.0741 | WEST MICHIGAN: 616.588.7700
Are You Prepared for the 2022-2023 School Year?
It may feel like summer just began, but students will be returning to campus in a few short weeks. Prepare for the upcoming school year by proactively taking steps to avoid common legal problems.
Corral Your Coordinators!
Federal law requires every school to appoint a Title IX Coordinator. Many schools appoint two Title IX Coordinators to account for possible conflicts of interest. Before this school year begins, ensure that your school has appointed at least one trained Title IX Coordinator.
Title IX Coordinators must be trained on the 2020 Title IX regulations, and those training materials must be posted on the school’s website. Schools often identify the Title IX Coordinator(s) in board policy, student handbooks, and elsewhere on the website. We recommend that schools widely disseminate the Title IX Coordinator’s identity and contact information, as well as the school’s Title IX policy.
In addition to a Title IX Coordinator, schools must appoint a Section 504 Coordinator and a Civil Rights Coordinator. One person may serve in all three roles as long as they have the time and expertise. Parents and students must be provided contact information for the Section 504 and Civil Rights Coordinators so that they can make a complaint, if necessary.
Before finalizing your student handbooks, double-check that the Title IX, Section 504, and Civil Rights Coordinators are identified and that their contact information is up-to-date. Review applicable board policies to ensure that the board-authorized individuals are identified. Thrun Policy Service subscribers should review: Policy 3118 – Title IX Sexual Harassment (which identifies the Title IX Coordinator); Policy 5202 – Unlawful Discrimination, Harassment, and Retaliation against Students (which identifies the Title IX Coordinator, Section 504 Coordinator, and Civil Rights Coordinator); and Policy 4104 – Employment Complaint Procedure (which identifies the Employment Compliance Officer for employee complaints).
Thrun Law Firm is offering virtual comprehensive Title IX sexual harassment training on August 19, 2022 and September 14, 2022 from 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. each day. To register, complete and submit the form found here.
Review Discipline Procedures!
If you make it past the first week of school without a major student discipline incident – congratulations! The other 99% of school administrators should ensure that student discipline policies, administrative guidelines, and student handbook provisions are consistent before the school year begins. Inconsistencies in and between these documents can create confusion and may result in challenges to discipline.
State law requires that each school develop and implement a student code of conduct. A well-written student code of conduct:
- clearly describes prohibited conduct, with definitions and descriptions of prohibited behavior;
- outlines a range of possible disciplinary consequences;
- is specific enough to put students and parents on notice of the type of prohibited school-related conduct and the disciplinary consequences for engaging in such conduct; and
- expressly authorizes building administrators to address student behavior that is inappropriate for school, but not specifically described in the code of conduct.
The student code of conduct should be published in your school’s student handbook, as well as on the district’s website.
Thrun Policy Service subscribers can find their student discipline policies at Policy 5206 through Policy 5206E. Thrun Administrative Guidelines and Forms subscribers also have access to 19 student discipline forms, including letters, resolutions, and sample motion and minute language.
If your administrative team would like student discipline training, join us on August 23, 2022 from 12:00-3:00 p.m. for a student discipline webinar. To register, complete and submit the form found here.