News from Thrun Law

April 11, 2022

Recently, many school districts received Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests from a for-profit business seeking the disclosure of student directory information. Responding to FOIA requests for student directory information requires school officials to navigate legal requirements that include the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) and other Michigan privacy statutes. This article describes considerations and FOIA exemptions that apply to such requests.

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April 4, 2022

As our retainer clients were notified in our February 8 E-Blast, Michigan Attorney General Nessel recently issued OAG No. 7318, in which she opined that the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act (Section 504) may require state and local boards to provide virtual access to public meetings as a reasonable accommodation for qualified persons with disabilities.

Although the opinion is not binding on local boards (e.g., school boards), it...

April 1, 2022

On March 23, Governor Whitmer signed into law Public Act 48 of 2022, which is immediately effective and amends Section 1d of the Construction of School Buildings Act (the Act) to change certain requirements related to temporary door locking devices and systems (e.g., the Boot) in schools.

The Act defines “temporary door locking device or system” (lockdown device) as an “anchoring mecha­nism or system installed on the interior side of a door that, when engaged, secures the door against...

March 29, 2022

As part of our service to retainer clients, Thrun Law Firm will conduct a series of 1-hour webinars on four Tuesdays this spring. The “Tuesdays with Thrun - Back to Basics” webinar series will be offered at no charge to our retainer clients.

Webinars will be held on the following dates and times and will cover the following topics:

  • Tuesday, April 12, 2022
    • 8:30-9:30 a.m.: How to Effectively Use Legal Counsel
    • 9:45-10:45 a.m.: Open Meetings Act and Freedom...
March 28, 2022

We previously notified our retainer clients through E-Blasts and School Law Notes about a California lawsuit against Juul Labs and other vaping product manufacturers. The lawsuit alleges that those manufacturers fraudulently and intentionally marketed their products to children.

The lawsuit seeks not only money damages for costs schools have already incurred related to vaping, but also funding for future vaping-related costs. Vaping costs include reduced state aid due to...

March 21, 2022

RSC Section 1229 sets timelines and procedural requirements for nonrenewing an administrator’s expiring employment contract. Because the statutory nonrenewal timeline requires at least 90 days’ lead time before the employment contract’s termination date (i.e., April 1 for a contract ending June 30), we recommend starting the nonrenewal process no later than March 15 for contracts that expire on June 30. Failure to follow the statutory nonrenewal process will result in an automatically...

March 14, 2022

Although most schools are back to in-person instruction, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic led many school officials (and parents) to consider virtual learning. Special education students typically have the same right to participate in virtual programming as their non-disabled peers if the virtual placement provides the student a free appropriate public educa­tion (FAPE). Before placing a special education student in a virtual program, the following questions should be reviewed:

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March 7, 2022

The Michigan Employment Relations Commission (MERC) recently determined that a community college had no duty to bargain COVID-19 health and safety matters because those issues were covered by the applicable collective bargaining agreement (CBA). Wayne Co Cmty College Dist, MERC Case No. 20-I-1436-CE (2021). This decision serves as a reminder that employers should regularly review their CBAs to understand which subjects are already covered by the CBA.

The union demanded that...

February 28, 2022

The Ingham County Circuit Court recently denied a parent’s attempt to stop the enforcement of a school mask rule issued by the school’s superintendent. Holland v DeWitt Pub Schs, Ingham County Circuit Court Case No. 21-12099-CZ (2022). Although not binding on other Michigan circuit courts, the decision may provide persuasive authority in challenges to similar rules issued by school superintendents.

The school’s mask rule required students and staff to wear masks at school....

February 21, 2022

Substitute teachers do not need to be teachers! Actually, it is not that simple, despite the news headlines. The recently enacted Public Act 149 of 2021 (PA 149) amends Section 1233 of the Revised School Code to permit, in certain circumstances, a school to assign a person without a teaching certificate or substitute teacher permit to a substitute teaching position if certain key requirements are satis­fied. The law was effective December 27, 2021, and expires June 30, 2022.

A school...

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