News from Thrun Law

December 5, 2022

The 2020 Title IX sexual harassment regulations pose many challenges for K-12 schools, with the student discipline and removal rules among the most significant. The regulations require that a person accused of sexual harassment cannot be disciplined for sexual harassment until the Title IX grievance process is complete and a trained decision-maker has deter­mined that sexual harassment occurred. Practically speaking, this means that a student accused of sexually harassing another...

November 28, 2022

Dogs can be trained to provide significant physical and emotional benefits to people. Two types of dogs might serve that role in schools: service animals and therapy dogs. A service animal is a dog (or miniature horse in certain situations) that is individually trained to perform tasks that are directly related to and that mitigate the effects of a person’s disability; a therapy dog, however, provides emotional support with just its presence.

Schools must allow a person with a...

November 21, 2022

Many schools have experienced a significant increase in FOIA requests. This month’s Back to Basics article addresses some of the common FOIA questions we receive and provides guidance about responding to FOIA requests.

Reviewing Requests

School officials often ask whether they must respond to a FOIA request that appears to be a “scam” or “not legitimate.” As a public body, a school is required to respond to all FOIA requests unless the...

November 14, 2022

As reported in last month’s School Law Notes, the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) recently published the 2022-23 Pupil Accounting Manual (PAM) and a...

November 7, 2022

In September 2022, MDE’s Office of Special Education issued guidance about student disciplinary removals.

Responding to and Counting Disciplinary Removals

In this guidance, MDE reminds schools that when a special education student’s behavior...

October 31, 2022

Governor Whitmer recently signed into law Public Act 213, which adds Section 10a to the Revised School Code (RSC) and requires certain postings as described below.

Posting Requirements

Beginning January 1, 2023, RSC Section 10a states that the boards of school districts, intermediate school districts, and public school academies shall ensure that the following laws be prominently posted and maintained in specified areas of school buildings:

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October 24, 2022

MDE recently published the 2022-23 Pupil Accounting Manual, which is available here. As re­ported in the August 25, 2022 edition of School Law Notes, fall count day is Wednesday, October 5, 2022. Be sure to review the updated Pupil Accounting Manual and...

October 17, 2022

In a memorandum anticipated in the coming days, MDE will announce the new competitive bid threshold. MDE adjusts this threshold annually to account for inflation as measured by the average consumer price index.

For the 2022-23 fiscal year, $28,048 is the threshold amount at which school districts, ISDs, and public school academies must competitively bid for:  (1) labor and materials for construction projects (RSC Section 1267), and (2) the purchase of supplies,...

October 10, 2022

A Michigan federal court recently dismissed a claim that a school district violated the First Amendment when it suspended a student for impersonating his teacher on Instagram and posting violent and sexual content about other teachers. Kutchinski v Freeland Comm Sch Dist, Case No. 19-13810 (ED Mich, 2022).

H.K., a Freeland High School student, created an Instagram account pretending to be his teacher. The account’s profile identified the teacher by full name, high school, and...

September 30, 2022

As reported in the July 28, 2022 edition of School Law Notes, Public Act 184 of 2022 significantly amended the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement Act (MPSER). As of July 25, 2022, retirees may return to work without earnings limitations or pension forfeitures so long as they had a bona fide termination and retired at least nine consecutive months earlier. While PA 184 may eventually help combat teacher shortages, it is important to consider the immediate impact and...

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