News from Thrun Law

September 26, 2022

Don’t forget to get your school year off to a safe start by complying with state safety drill obligations. Below are some frequently asked questions and answers about these requirements.

Q: Which schools are required to conduct safety drills each school year?

A: Michigan’s Fire Prevention Code requires every local school district, intermediate school district, and public school academy operating any of grades K-12 to conduct fire,...

September 19, 2022

With the new school year upon us, now is a good time to review school websites and board policies for compliance with current Title IX requirements. Below are important obligations that are frequently overlooked.

Title IX Coordinator

All educational institutions receiving federal funds must have at least one employee serving as Title IX Coordinator. The Title IX Coordinator is responsible for: (1) ensuring that all employees involved in the Title IX process are trained...

September 12, 2022

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted all aspects of school operations, including school services contracted out to independent contractors. As school officials renegotiate or execute new service agreements (e.g., with transportation, custodial, or other contractors), they should be mindful about establishing contract terms that offer flexibility and tolerance for changing circumstances that may be beyond their control.

Scope of Services and Payment Terms

September 5, 2022

The Michigan Supreme Court recently held that under Michigan’s Elliott-Larsen Civil Rights Act (ELCRA), sexual orientation discrimination is discrimination “because of sex” and is therefore prohibited. Rouch World, LLC v Michigan Dep’t of Civil Rights, Docket No. 162482 (July 28, 2022).

The case arose from two separate allegations of discrimination. The first allegation was made by a same-sex couple against a company that denied the couple’s request to get married in one of...

August 25, 2022

As the school year kicks off, school officials must ensure that their teachers and administrators are properly certificated. After a lull during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Michigan Department of Education (MDE) has resumed issuing state aid penalties to schools that employ uncertificated teachers and administrators. Executive orders and legislative amendments that relaxed teacher and administrator certification requirements during the pandemic have expired or been rescinded including the...

August 22, 2022

The rules for religion in public schools shifted recently when the U.S. Supreme Court decided in favor of the “praying coach,” permitting a public school employee to publicly pray during his work day. Kennedy v Bremerton Sch Dist, Docket No 21-418 (June 27, 2022). The Court found that the school violated the coach’s Free Speech and Free Exercise constitutional rights when it sanctioned him for kneeling and praying at the 50-yard line after high school football games.

August 15, 2022

Governor Whitmer recently signed into law Public Act 184 of 2022 (PA 184) which amends the Michigan Public School Employees Retirement (MPSER) Act and alters requirements affecting retirees employed by a “reporting unit” (i.e., a public school district, interme­diate school district, or PSA). PA 184 went into effect on July 25, 2022.

As used in the MPSER Act, “employed at a reporting unit” now means “employed directly by a reporting unit as an employee, indirectly by a reporting unit...

August 8, 2022

On July 19, 2022, the Michigan Court of Claims ruled unconstitutional the Legislature’s 2018 amendments to the voter-proposed Paid Medical Leave Act (PMLA) and Improved Workforce Opportunity Wage Act (IWOWA) legislation. The PMLA generally requires employers to provide paid medical leave to eligible hourly employees, while the IWOWA governs Michigan’s minimum...

July 29, 2022

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...

July 25, 2022

In Sawicki v Bangor Twp Sch Dist (21-8), the State Tenure Commission (STC) upheld the school district’s discharge of an insubordinate teacher. Thrun Law Firm successfully represented the school district in bringing tenure charges.

During his 29-year employment with the District, Sawicki was placed on several different individual development plans (IDPs) for performance issues. During remote instruction in the 2020-2021 school year, Sawicki failed to create and follow...