Ohio Court Weighs in on Transgender Student Access to Restrooms and Name Issues

As the national debate regarding transgender students' rights and school districts' obligations rapidly evolves, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio adds to the conflicting precedent. On September 26, 2016, Judge Marbley ordered the Highland Local School District ("District") to treat 11 year-old "Jane Doe," a biological male, "as the girl she is." The Judge's order requires the District to allow the student to use the girls' restroom in the elementary school and refer to her by female pronouns and her female name. The crux of the issues involves transgender identity protections under the Equal Protection Clause and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. In making his ruling, Judge Marbley rejected the privacy argument made by the District that the privacy rights of other students weighed against allowing Jane Doe to use the girls' restroom. [More]

The Degree of "Educational Benefit" Required for a Free Appropriate Public Education: United States Supreme Court to Settle the Debate

Under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA), public schools must provide a free appropriate public education (FAPE) to students with disabilities. The degree of "educational benefit" a child must receive in order for the school district to have provided a FAPE has been a question that school districts across the country have grappled with for decades. But clarification is in sight as the United States Supreme Court will hear the case of Endrew F. v. Douglas County School District RE-1. The central issue in Endrew F. is defining the level of educational benefit a school district must confer on children with disabilities to provide them with the FAPE guaranteed by the IDEIA. [More]

Helping Schools Deal with Transgender Issues

Amid national strain and debate surrounding gender identity--from boycotts of Target due to its transgender bathroom policy to state laws and city ordinances that are aimed to restrict restroom use to biological at birth gender--school districts find themselves thrown into this national debate. Guidance from courts and agencies continues to evolve, leaving school districts floundering amidst the controversy with a lack of adequate legal direction to help them balance the prohibition of discrimination against privacy and safety concerns for the student body and community. [More]

New Legislation Provides Better Protection of Trade Secrets

In May the Defend Trade Secrets Act (DTSA) took effect, expanding federal protection of trade secrets that are stolen or exposed by improper means. Trade secrets are defined as valuable, confidential information that provides a competitive advantage by not being generally known in the market. DTSA's passage was welcomed by U.S. companies, which value their trade secrets in the trillions of dollars. [More]