News from Thrun Law

June 6, 2022

School officials continue to navigate 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. Although no Michigan or federal statute expressly prohibits discrimination based on a person’s transgender status or gender identity, federal courts, including the U.S. Supreme Court, have interpreted Title VII, Title IX, and the Equal...

May 27, 2022

As this academic year winds down, many school boards are in the process of hiring a new superintendent. We remind boards that they must comply with the Open Meetings Act (OMA) when evaluating, interviewing, and selecting a new superintendent.

The OMA’s intent is to facilitate public access to official governmental decision-making and to promote transparency in government. To further that interest, the OMA requires that all school board meetings be open to the public, except for...

May 23, 2022

As this school year wraps up, school officials should begin reviewing and revising student handbooks for the 2022-23 school year. A comprehensive and well-written student handbook is an important tool to ensure compliance with state and federal law, support student discipline decisions, and reduce the risk of litigation and other disputes.

Disclaimer Language

School officials should consider including language at the beginning of the student...

May 16, 2022

The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled that a participant in a conversation does not violate Michigan’s eavesdropping statute by recording the conversation without the consent of the other parties. Fisher v Perron, Docket No. 21-1184 (CA 6, 2022). This decision, especially in light of the Michigan Supreme Court’s refusal to review this issue in a different case, reaffirms that Michigan is a one-party consent state for recordings.

In this case, Mr. Fisher alleged...

May 9, 2022

With high school graduation fast approaching, school officials should be aware of the following graduation-related legal issues.

Diplomas and “Walking” at Graduation

The end of the school year may usher in “senioritis” along with senior pranks, tempting school officials to withhold a student’s diploma as a disciplinary action. School officials who do so risk legal exposure because withholding an earned diploma deprives an individual of a...

May 2, 2022

The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled that a college board of trustees did not violate a board member’s free speech rights by censuring him and temporarily barring him from board officer positions. Houston Community College System v Wilson, Docket No. 20-804 (March 24, 2022).

David Wilson was an elected official on the Houston Community College System’s Board of Trustees. He was not, however, popular with his fellow trustees. Wilson frequently disagreed with them,...

April 25, 2022

As part of our service to our 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 is 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...
April 18, 2022

Prom season is fast approaching – along with myriad related legal issues. Student conduct at prom can be both novel and unpre­dictable, offering few clear-cut rules. This article nevertheless provides some best practices to assist school officials in navigating common issues that may be associated with the big day.


Attending prom is not a constitutional right. Prom attendance is a privilege, subject to revocation should a student fail to...

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.


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...