U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights Issues Instructions Regarding Complaints Involving Transgender Students

On June 6, 2017, Acting Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights, Candice Jackson, issued instructions to the directors of the regional offices of the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights (OCR) regarding complaints involving transgender students. The instructions come in response to three events that have impacted transgender law in public schools: (1) the withdrawal of two guidance documents by the U.S. Departments of Education and Justice; (2) the dismissal of State of Texas v. United States; and (3) the remand of Gloucester County School Board v. G.G. [More]

Ohio Legislature Alters Law on Truancy and Student Discipline

The Ohio Legislature passed House Bill 410 (H.B. 410) last December after considering the legislation for over a year. The bill became law on April 6, 2017. As of April 6, school districts must measure absences in hours, rather than days, and must adhere to new laws regarding student discipline. The new law substantially changes the truancy law for the 2017-2018 school year, and requires school districts to prepare and implement policies that emphasize intervention strategies for chronically absent students. Significant changes have also been made with respect to student out-of-school suspensions. [More]

United States Supreme Court Creates New Standard for Provision of a Free Appropriate Public Education

On March 22, 2017, the United States Supreme Court, in the case of Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District RE-1, created a new standard for determining whether a student with a disability under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA) has been provided with a free appropriate public education (FAPE). In Endrew F., the Court was asked to decide the degree of "educational benefit" a child must receive in order for the school district to have provided a FAPE. The lower court in Endrew F. used the "merely more than de minimus" standard that had been adopted by the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously rejected this standard and instead held that in order "to meet its substantive obligation under the IDEIA, a school must offer an IEP reasonably calculated to enable a child to make progress appropriate in light of the child's circumstances." Endrew F. ex rel. Joseph F. v. Douglas Cty. Sch. Dist. RE-1, No. 15-827, 2017 WL 1066260, at *1 (U.S. Mar. 22, 2017) (emphasis added). [More]