News from Thrun Law

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:

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...

February 14, 2022

FOIA, while a hallmark of transparency, can overwhelm school officials with its strict response timelines, potential for large record requests, and cryp­tic exemptions. As members of the community and media seek to understand policies, track expenses, and unearth communications involving schools, school officials – particularly FOIA coordinators – should be familiar with the contours of FOIA. Misapplying an exemption and improperly withholding records can subject the school to an appeal in...

February 7, 2022

Although the 2020 Title IX regulations are anything but “basic,” this article provides an overview of common investigatory mistakes.

Title IX Grievance Process Overview

Title IX prohibits sex-based harassment and discrimination in schools receiving federal financial assistance. Therefore, this broad prohibition applies to public elementary and secondary schools. The law protects students, employees, applicants for admission and employment, and other individuals from...

January 31, 2022

The Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) is now implementing the 2022 Michigan Clean Diesel Program. This program seeks to subsidize the replacement of diesel vehicles, engines, and/or equipment with either (1) zero tailpipe emission vehicles, engines, or equipment or (2) hybrid or alternative fuel vehicles, engines, or equipment.

The program funds may be used to decommission and replace diesel school buses. To be eligible, a bus must be operational, have...

January 24, 2022

Thrun Law Firm is pleased to announce that Mackenzie Flynn has joined the firm as our newest associate attorney.

Mackenzie holds an undergraduate degree in History and Political Science from Central Michigan University (B.A., 2018, summa cum laude) and a law de­gree from the Michigan State University College of Law (J.D., 2021, cum laude).

Mackenzie is a member of the State Bar of Michigan. Her...

January 20, 2022


Jeffrey J. Butler

Jeffrey J. Butler

Dear Retainer Client:

Thrun Law Firm received word that Jeffrey J. Butler passed away yesterday evening in his home in Okemos, Michigan. Jeff had just this past Thursday joined Team Thrun after more than thirty years of legal practice in the areas of special education and disability-rights law, with...

January 17, 2022

On November 17, 2021, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) updated its COVID-19 guidance. The latest update provides school officials with information on preventing retaliation in pan­demic-related employment situations in violation of federal equal employment opportunity (EEO) laws. The EEOC guidance is available at: