Entries by James M. McWeeney II


#MeToo 101: What districts need to know about the #MeToo movement in schools

The #MeToo movement has exposed rampant sexual harassment across the country in a wide range of industries. Yet, we’ve heard little about the movement in our schools, until recently. While often underreported, statistics of student-to-student sexual harassment are troubling. According to research from the American Association of University Women, approximately half of students in grades […]

Protests Post-Parkland: The legal ramifications of the rising tide of school protests

  Tragedy. Loss. Sorrow. Debate. Passion. Protest. The devastating school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida has spawned national (and often contentious) debates across the country. Students, school staff members, parents and community groups are front-and-center in this ongoing conversation and are voicing their concerns. As a result, school districts, post-Parkland, […]

Non-teaching employees can coach too, right? The legal implications of hiring non-teaching personnel

The school year is officially underway! With this new school year comes not only the work of educating students, but also, the after-school work of coaching and teaching students in extracurricular sports, clubs and activities. School districts generally employ teachers to oversee these extracurricular activities via supplemental contracts. However, as the list of extracurricular activities […]

House Bill 491: A Treasure Trove of Legal Changes Affecting Ohio School Treasurers

The Ohio General Assembly recently enacted House Bill 491, which contains significant legal changes affecting school treasurer and superintendent liability. Traditionally, public officials have been strictly and individually liable for the loss or misuse of public money under their control. This liability rule applied regardless of blame or intent to commit wrongdoing. However, the new […]

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Questions Arise with the Reopening of Ohio Sports and Training Facilities

June 1, 2020  The Ohio Department of Health Director has authorized school districts to reopen their doors to skills training and non-contact sports. The Order provides detailed requirements and restrictions as well as guidance specifically tailored to baseball, softball, golf courses, pools, and tennis facilities. In addition, the Ohio Department of Health also released its […]

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Property Tax Disputes Are Expected to Proliferate

March 2, 2021  COVID-19 provides the perfect excuse for commercial real estate owners to challenge their property values this year.  Property owners will assert that, because revenue is down across the board, their property values should be lower as well.  But as we know, that is not necessarily the case, especially given lower interest rates […]

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School Districts Can Get Tax Relief for Certain Paid Leave Expenses

May 4, 2021 It’s not your typical tax relief. And while it’s available for only a small window of time, it’s tax relief nonetheless. Last month, the IRS issued guidance explaining how employers, including school districts, can claim tax credits under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (“Act”). The Act allows school districts to […]

The Supreme Court Weighs In: Can Schools Regulate Off-Campus Student Speech?

June 24, 2021  On June 23, 2021, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a Pennsylvania school district violated the First Amendment rights of a student and cheerleader when it punished her for off-campus student speech. The Court’s opinion significantly affects how and to what extent schools can regulate students’ off-campus expressions without running afoul of […]