News from Thrun Law

June 8, 2020

Given the present circumstances, it may be easy to forget to provide employees “reasonable assurance” for a job in the 2020-21 school year. Under the Michigan Employment Security Act, schools should provide em­ployees with reasonable assurance that they will have a position for the following school year. The reasonable assurance is not a guarantee of employment but is, instead, a good faith belief that a position will be available for the employee the following school year.

Providing...

May 30, 2020

On May 6, 2020, the U.S. Department of Education released long-awaited new regulations implementing Title IX, the federal law that prohibits sex-based educational discrimination in schools receiving federal financial assistance. Schools are still responsible for appointing a Title IX Coordinator and for promptly and equitably investigating incidents of sex-based discrimination, including sexual harassment. But now, Title IX investigations are subject to a plethora of standards and procedures...

May 25, 2020

Governor Whitmer signed into law Public Act 45 of 2020, effective June 1, 2020, which amends the Con­struction of School Buildings Act to permit a temporary door locking device or system to be installed in school buildings. The Act clarifies that this installation does not violate the Fire Code.

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

May 18, 2020

Distance learning presents unique and difficult challenges, especially for students with disabilities. School officials continue to struggle with how to pro­vide effective special education programming while still meeting their legal requirements under the Indi­viduals with Disabilities Education Act and Michigan law.

The Michigan Department of Education Office of Special Education (MDE-OSE) recently released its Guidance for Compliance with the Individuals with Disabilities...

May 11, 2020

As the end of the school year approaches, school officials must make important and timely personnel de­cisions about the continued employment of probationary teachers and follow the applicable time­lines and procedures to nonrenew a probationary teacher’s contract. The COVID-19 crisis and the Gover­nor’s Executive Orders did not suspend or extend the probationary teacher nonrenewal timelines. Acting outside of the required timelines and procedures will result in an unintended contract...

May 4, 2020

In a landmark ruling, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals recently held that students have a constitutional right to a “basic minimum education,” meaning access to a foundational level of literacy. Gary B. v Whitmer, Case No. 18-1855/1871 (CA 6, 2020). For the first time, a court has ruled that the U.S. Constitution requires the State to provide an education with quality standards.

Since the 1990s, the Detroit Public Schools (DPS) has been subject to State control through...

March 23, 2020

Three years ago, the Michigan Legislature amended the Revised School Code to prohibit the use of seclusion and restraint in schools except in emergency situations. An “emergency situation” occurs when a student’s be­havior poses an imminent risk to the safety of the student or others.

School officials continue to confront legal and practical issues related to emergency seclusion and re­straint, particularly in identifying whether an action constitutes seclusion or restraint. The...

March 16, 2020

To assist our clients with questions about specialized employee benefits, Thrun has developed a close relationship with Steven D. Lowe, P.C. The following article was drafted by Attorney Steven Lowe. Questions about those topics may be directed to him at (517) 575-0720.

By Steven Lowe, Steven D. Lowe, P.C.

Many school officials are familiar with Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs) and understand that they are a type of employer-funded,...

March 9, 2020

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled that a school’s communication plan, restricting a parent’s communications with school staff to biweekly in-person meetings with two administra­tors, did not violate the parent’s First Amendment rights. LF v Lake Washington Sch Dist, Case No. 18-35792 (CA 9, 2020). Although not binding in Michigan, this decision suggests that schools may set reasonable limits on parent communications with school staff.

A parent sent school...

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