Pullman & Comley has established a cross-disciplinary legal team comprised of attorneys who have experience in diverse areas of the law and are dedicated to serving the unique needs of educational institutions. As educational institutions face a myriad of legal, business, financial and regulatory issues, our attorneys respond to our clients’ evolving needs across a full range of matters. Our Education Law team brings a vast range of experience to every situation and includes attorneys from our corporate and business, public finance, property valuation, employee benefits, technology and intellectual property, energy, real estate, environmental and land use, green development, nonprofit organizations, labor and employment, litigation, and cybersecurity, privacy and infrastructure protection practice areas.
Pullman & Comley works with independent and public schools, colleges and universities to find practical, innovative and cost effective solutions to the array of legal issues they face. We work directly with general counsel, senior management, boards of directors and trustees, presidents and other administrators to provide legal advice and representation in the areas of the law that affect these educational institutions.
News & Insights
- CT Mirror, 09.04.2020
- District Administration, 04.27.2020
- CT Examiner, 03.19.2020
- GoTo Meeting Webinar, 08.20.2020
- GoTo Meeting Webinar, 08.17.2020
- GoToMeeting Webinar, 06.04.2020
- demio Webinar, 04.15.2020
- School Law Attorneys Kaufmann, Schurin and Sommaruga Lead Workshops at November CABE/CAPSS ConventionMystic Marriott Hotel, Groton, Connecticut, 11.15.2019
- The Connecticut Association of Schools, 11.01.2019
- Governor Lamont Declares Continuing State of Emergency, Extends Executive Emergency Powers Through February 9, 202109.04.2020
- Governor Lamont’s Executive Order No. 7I Offers Local Budget and Deadline Clarification Amidst COVID-1903.23.2020
- Connecticut Colleges and Universities Should Develop Opioid Antagonist Policies Now So They Can Be Approved and in Place By January 2020 Deadline09.18.2019
Education Law Notes Blog
Education Law Notes Blog
Attorneys from Pullman & Comley's School Law practice publish "Education Law Notes," which alerts readers to, and provides insights on, new developments in education law. "Education Law Notes" covers legal matters that pertain to public school districts, private schools, colleges and universities ranging from issues in academics, labor and employment and gender equality to disability rights, social media, bullying and administrative policies and procedures. For your reference our most recent Education Law Notes posts are highlighted below.
We have been closely monitoring the legal implications of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic for educators, and have been responding to a broad range of client questions. For a complete list of all of our firm's advisories related to COVID-19, please visit our FOCUS-Responding to COVID-19 page.
School Reopening and Labor and Employment Matters – July 6, 2020
On June 29, 2020, the State of Connecticut issued “Connecticut’s Learning Plan to Learn and Grow Together,” setting forth a myriad of requirements that school districts must complete in order to open in the fall.
Federal District Court Rules That Special Education Students Who Have Not Received a High School Diploma Continue to be Eligible to Receive Special Education Until Age 22 - June 22, 2020
The Federal District Court of Connecticut, in A.R. v. Connecticut State Board of Education, recently ruled that under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (“IDEA”) students in Connecticut have the right to special education through their twenty-second birthday or upon high school graduation – whichever comes first.
To Sign or Not to Sign – The New Dilemma for Title IX Coordinators - June 11, 2020
The new Title IX Regulations that go into effect on August 14, 2020 allow for a formal complaint investigation only when there is a formal complaint signed by the student, the student’s parent/guardian (at the elementary or secondary education level) or the Title IX coordinator.
Summer School in Connecticut in 2020: An Answer from the State? - June 5, 2020
The Governor’s office issued the final version of its “Rules for Operating Summer School During COVID-19.” For districts intending to have summer school, what can they expect?
What Happens on September 9, 2020 When the Executive Orders All Expire? - June 2, 2020
The Governor’s authority to issue Executive Orders comes from Connecticut General Statutes Section 28-9(b)(1). Unless any of the Executive Orders are “sooner revoked”, the state of emergency and the Orders expire on September 9, 2020.
No Winning: Connecticut’s Transgender Athlete Policy Deemed a Violation of Title IX - May 29, 2020
The United States Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights has determined that the Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference [CIAC] policy on transgender athletes violates Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.
Part III in a Series: Is Your District Prepared to Implement the New Title IX Regulations at the Start of the 2020-2021 School Year? The Formal Complaint Process - May 29, 2020
The new Title IX regulations proscribe very specific things that must occur whenever a formal complaint of sexual harassment is filed, whether against another student or a staff member. These provisions may, in some cases, require the hiring of new staff to fill the required roles, and most definitely will require significant training for staff assigned to the roles required by the Regulations including the Title IX Coordinator, investigator and decision makers.
Part II in a Series: Is Your District Prepared to Implement the New Title IX Regulations at the Start of the 2020-2021 School Year? Initial Response to Allegations of Sexual Harassment - May 27, 2020
The U.S. Department of Education has placed much emphasis lately on its concerns over sexual harassment occurring on college campuses and how colleges are investigating complaints and disciplining students accused of harassment and assault. A major focus in the Regulations is to ensure that alleged victims and perpetrators are treated equitably during any complaint process.
Virtually Summer: Extended-School-Year Services in the Age of Coronavirus – May 26, 2020
On May 20, 2020, the state of Connecticut Department of Education’s Bureau of Special Education issued guidance regarding the provision of extended-school-year [ESY] services to special education students during the COVID-19 pandemic, acknowledging that ESY services may not look the same as they have in prior years.
Part I in a Series: Is Your District Prepared to Implement the New Title IX Regulations at the Start of the 2020-2021 School Year? - May 21, 2020
The U.S. Department of Education issued the first revision to its Title IX regulations in 45 years and make sweeping changes in the way that elementary and secondary schools must investigate and address claims of sexual harassment.
The Latest: Executive Order 700 and the Rescheduling of Certain Local Elections and Appointments – May 18, 2020
EO 7OO provides a measure of protection to voters and poll workers by delaying certain in-person voting, which will ostensibly permit safer proceedings.
It’s the Same, Only Really, Really Different: Reopening Connecticut’s Colleges, Universities, and Boarding Schools – May 8, 2020
On May 6, 2020, Connecticut’s Higher Education Subcommittee — which is an arm of the task force that has been charged with recommending appropriate procedures for “reopening” Connecticut in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic – issued guidelines for the resumption of college and university campus-based activities.
The Commissioner of Education has Modified the Non-Tenured Teacher Non-Renewal Process – April 14, 2020
On April 13, 2020, the Commissioner of Education issued “guidance pertaining to the flexibilities for local or regional boards of education related to non-renewal notifications and tenure impacted as a result of COVID-19.”
U.S. Department of Education Clarifies That Video Recording Virtual Lessons and Making Them Available to Students Does Not Violate FERPA and Provides Other Advice on FERPA Compliance in the Age of Virtual Learning – April 2, 2020
Executive Order 7R: Its Impact and Obligations on Connecticut School Districts – April 2, 2020
On April 1, 2020, Governor Lamont issued Executive Order 7R which directs districts to maintain individuals’ employment “to the greatest extent practicable” and to negotiate agreements with their providers that will look to cover certain actual costs incurred by their bus contractors and certain service providers.
Must School Districts Pay for Bus Transportation and All Employee Salaries While Schools Are Closed? What the “CARES Act” May Mean to Connecticut School Districts – March 29, 2020
A brief summary of what the CARES Act means for public schools, including a possible mandate to continue to pay all employees and contractors, even if they may not be providing services.
Dispelling the Myth: Yes Virginia, You Can Use Interactive Videoconferencing with Students as Part of Distance Learning – March 27, 2020
Despite the protestations of some teachers and their unions, there is nothing illegal about directly teaching students through videoconferencing. This neither violates the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) nor state law regarding data privacy.
Happy Talk! Connecticut’s Bureau of Special Education Issues Guidance for the COVID-19 Era – March 27, 2020
On March 24, 2020, the Bureau of Special Education issued guidance on the provision of special education during the COVID-19 pandemic and provided districts with some wiggle room as they try to fit a school-based IEP into the virtual confines of distance learning.
Teach On! Remote Group Instruction, Student Privacy, and FERPA in the Age of the Coronavirus – March 24, 2020
A particularly pressing concern has been determining how to handle student privacy rights in the course of providing remote instruction.
“How About Never!?” – COVID-19, School Closures, and Planning and Placement Team Meetings – March 19, 2020
There has been some confusion as to whether school districts are currently permitted to unilaterally decline parent requests to PPT meetings or to otherwise indefinitely postpone them.
Governor Lamont’s Executive Order Regarding the Municipal and Regional School District Budget Deadlines (and Waiver of Certain Educational Mandates) – March 18, 2020
With “Executive Order 7C,” Governor Lamont has ordered that notwithstanding any contrary statutes, charters or local ordinances, all municipal budget deadlines occurring on or before May 15, 2020 that pertain to the preparation of a municipal budget for the 2020-2021 fiscal year are extended by 30 days.
OCR Issues Guidance on Nondiscrimination in the Age of Distance Learning – March 18, 2020
The U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights (OCR) issued a fact sheet entitled “Addressing the Risk of COVID-19 in Schools While Protecting the Civil Rights of Students,” addressing various types of discrimination that must be avoided while providing education to students in these uncertain times.
Complying with FERPA During COVID-19 – March 17, 2020
A school district’s obligations under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act are not relaxed during these difficult times where school districts are trying to cope with COVID-19. However, schools should understand the “health or safety emergency” exception to FERPA’s general consent requirements.
How to Implement Distance Learning and Still Comply with Existing State and Federal Laws - March 17, 2020
As a return to regular school seems less likely in the near future, schools need to devise creative ways to provide high quality education to their students. Yesterday, the Connecticut Commissioner of Education issued two letters aimed at making this easier for schools to accomplish.
Governor Lamont’s Executive Order and the FOIA’s “Open Meetings” Requirements – March 16, 2020
The outbreak of COVID-19 has caused practical concerns regarding how public agencies can comply with Connecticut’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and its posting and open meeting requirements when large gatherings have been prohibited.
Special Education in the Age of the Coronavirus – March 16, 2020
Connecticut’s mandated closing of school districts up to March 31, 2020 in response to COVID-19 has left school districts struggling with how they can best continue to provide legally mandated specialized instruction and related services to special education students.
Addressing Your Labor Matters While Closing Your District Due to COVID-19 - March 16, 2020
Connecticut school districts have been directed to be closed until at least March 31, 2020. The CIAC has cancelled winter sports playoffs and schools have cancelled extracurricular activities. So, what happens next?
What If Your District Shuts Down and Cannot Meet the 180 School Day Minimum for Instruction? - March 13, 2020
Governor Lamont issued an Executive Order waiving the 180 days as long as certain conditions are met.
Guidance to Address COVID-19 - March 10, 2020
What school districts in Connecticut should know.