Profiles: Miriam Pearlmutter / Walter Haverfield LLP

Fueled by her love of podcasts and her passion for education law, Walter | Haverfield attorney Miriam Pearlmutter started her own podcast for school administrators and teachers. Her colleague, Lisa Woloszynek joined in as her co-host. Cleveland Jewish News recently took notice, profiling Miriam and her increasingly popular podcast, Class Act: Updates in Education Law. [More]

Religion in the classroom

In an article published by the Ohio School Boards Association, in its October 2017 issue of School Management News, Miriam Pearlmutter asserted that school districts attempting to resolve religious conflicts should consider the First Amendment’s Religion Clauses as well as federal and state laws on employee discrimination. [More]

Supreme Court Allows Parents to Avoid IDEIA Administrative Process for Section 504 Claims

In last week's high-profile decision, the Supreme Court permitted parents to skip the due process complaint procedures if their claims relate primarily to Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 ("Section 504"), rather than the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act ("IDEIA"). The IDEIA requires school districts to provide qualifying students with a free appropriate public education ("FAPE") through specially-designed instruction and related services. Section 504, however, is a more general law prohibiting discrimination and obligating districts to provide equal access to public institutions to all persons with disabilities. In the past, courts have often required dissatisfied parents to exhaust the special education due process procedures, even if their claims related primarily to Section 504, and did not involve FAPE under the IDEIA. In Fry v. Napoleon, however, the Supreme Court rejected this approach and provided new parameters for claims appearing to relate to both laws. [More]

Email Exchanges Between School Board Members May Violate Ohio's Sunshine Law

In Tuesday's much-anticipated decision, the Ohio Supreme Court held that an email exchange between a majority of board members may qualify as a meeting under Ohio's Open Meeting Act. The plaintiff, a board member who conducted an independent inquiry into allegedly improper athletic expenditures, voted against a proposed board policy that would have limited similar future investigations. After a newspaper editorial praised the dissenting board member, his four colleagues collaborated on a formal response to the editorial, but did so by email and without his involvement. The board president submitted the final response to the paper, signing consent to its publication in his official capacity. [More]