Posts from 2021.

Earlier this year, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (“Ninth Circuit”) affirmed a lower court’s decision in Kennedy v. Bremerton School District (9th Cir. 2021) 991 F.3d 1004, holding that a school district’s direction to a high school football coach not to engage in religious conduct through prayer immediately after the game in front of students and spectators did not violate the coach’s First Amendment right to free speech.  On balance, the Ninth Circuit confirmed that allowing the conduct would have risked the school’s violation of the Establishment Clause.  As outlined below, the case outcome was fact-specific and driven by the unique circumstances giving rise to the Coach’s claim.

As school districts wrap up the 2020-2021 school year and look ahead to planning for the next school year, this is the perfect opportunity to reflect on lessons learned during the 15-months of COVID-19 related remote education. One of the most significant issues that arose during distance learning was the extent to which districts should monitor students' online activities coupled with the means by which to do so. This month’s post focuses on key considerations and best practices for monitoring students’ online activities.

Last month, the EdLawConnect Blog discussed the increased inequities faced by students and communities as a result of distance learning.  While access to technology can pose barriers and challenges to educational equity in the classroom, technology can also be harnessed to overcome barriers and challenges to equity, providing a key benefit to the school community.  This month, we will focus on using technology to engage parents and students and to support student success.

Students arrive to school with different resources and levels of preparedness, thus, the systems put in place to ensure each student succeeds must be different and take into account this underlying inequity. To put effective systems in place requires understanding of the unique challenges and barriers faced by students in the school community, and providing additional supports to assist students in overcoming barriers.  While educational equity does not ensure equal outcomes, educational equity is designed to ensure each student has an equal opportunity to be successful in school through the provision of appropriate and necessary support.

Flying somewhat under the radar (bad pun not intended), the Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”) approved new rules that went into effect at the end of December 2020 allowing drone operators to fly a broader range of missions without the need to obtain a certificate of authorization (“COA”).  These new regulations will have the force and effect of allowing school and community college districts to expand their existing drone operations.

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