News from Thrun Law

January 30, 2020

January is School Board Recognition Month. Thrun Law Firm has had the privilege of working with Michigan school boards since 1946. We recognize your commitment, dedication, and passion. We applaud the positive impact your efforts have on your students and your schools. Thank you for the continuing opportunity to work with you in serving your communities.

January 27, 2020

In a case handled by Thrun Law Firm, the State Tenure Commission recently upheld a tenured teacher’s discharge for misconduct and insubordina­tion arising from the violation of Michigan’s seclusion and restraint laws. Nichols v Bay City Pub Schs, STC 19-7 (2019).

Kendra Nichols, an elementary special education teacher, worked in a classroom for students with emo­tional impairments. Nichols’s discharge resulted from two separate incidents involving two different stu­dents....

January 20, 2020

The Michigan Court of Appeals recently dismissed a lawsuit filed against the Detroit Public Schools Com­munity District Board of Education, which alleged a se­ries of Open Meetings Act (OMA) violations concerning its superintendent search. A Felon’s Crusade for Equality, Honesty, and Truth v Detroit Pub Sch Cmty Dist Bd of Ed, COA Case No. 343881 (2019).

The board appointed a three-member search committee to review organizations that could assist the board with the...

January 13, 2020

Schools that issued tax credit bonds before December 22, 2017 must annually complete and file Form 1097-BTC with the IRS. For tax year 2019, Form 1097-BTC must be filed by mail by February 28, 2020, or filed electronically by March 31, 2020.

Tax credit bonds differ from conventional school bonds because the bond purchaser receives a tax cred­it in lieu of, or in addition to, periodic interest pay­ments. For schools, tax credit bonds were typically issued as either a Qualified School...

January 6, 2020

School officials continue to navigate complex legal, political, and familial issues when responding to a transgender student’s request to use the student’s pre­ferred name and pronouns at school and to access facil­ities consistent with the student’s gender identity, especially when the student’s parents request that the school do the opposite.

Although no Michigan or federal law expressly prohibits discrimination based on a person’s transgender status or gender identity, federal...

December 30, 2019

A copyright, often denoted by the © symbol, protects ownership in original works of authorship, including movies. Copyright holders enjoy the exclusive right to publicly perform and display their works. Federal copyright law defines “publicly” as, “to perform or display it at a place open to the public or any place where a substan­tial number of persons outside of a normal circle of a family and its social acquaintances are gathered.” Accordingly, showing a movie as a classroom reward or...

December 20, 2019

We are pleased to announce that the Thrun Policy Manual is now available to order, with anticipated distribution by the end of January 2020. Our policies are designed to be legally compliant and provide school officials with guidance and flexibility in a well-orga­nized and user-friendly format. We anticipate that administrative guidelines and forms will be available for purchase by the end of 2020. The purchase of administrative guidelines and forms, how­ever, is optional and not...

December 16, 2019

In last month’s edition of School Law Notes, we discussed the importance of filing the Municipal Finance Qualifying Statement form with the Michigan Department of Treasury by December 31 each year. A successful Qualifying Statement submission gives a school “qualified status” for the upcoming year. Obtain­ing qualified status allows schools to issue most types of municipal obligations (bonds, state aid notes, and tax notes) more swiftly and reduces related filing fees. We want to...

December 9, 2019

Employees who have taken extended leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) or an employ­ment contract may be entitled to an accommodation for additional leave under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). If the employee indicates that he or she needs additional leave due to a medical condition, school officials should offer to engage in the ADA’s in­teractive process before taking employment action based on a failure to return to work.

The EEOC is the governmental...

December 2, 2019

Under new Sixth Circuit precedent, employers cannot shorten the statute of limitations period for Title VII actions by contracting with their employees for a shorter limitations period. Logan v MGM Grand Detroit Casino, 939 F3d 824 (CA 6 2019)

In Logan, Barbrie Logan agreed, as a condition of her employment with MGM Grand Detroit Casino, to file any claim she had against the casino within six months of the underlying incident giving rise to the claim. As a part of...

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