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School Law in Massachusetts

Comprehensive treatment, practical guidance

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  • Product Number: 2030310B00
  • Publication Date: 7/15/2020
  • Edition: 3rd Edition 2016, with 2018 & 2020 Supplements
  • Copyright: © 2020 MCLE, Inc.
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  • Product Description
  • Table of Contents
  • Editors & Authors
  • Product Description

    Product Description

    School Law in Massachusetts is a first-of-its-kind, comprehensive, and highly practical guide to the wide range of legal issues surrounding public elementary and secondary schools in Massachusetts. The book sets out the essential information for each topic using numerous easy-to-access headings, lists, examples, Web references, and exhibits. Frequent practice notes explain the best approaches for practitioners to take in circumstances likely to arise in practice. Among the areas covered are school governance and regulation; employment and labor issues; student issues (such as safety and discipline, student assessment, and use of technology); special education; tort liability; and school finance. The book's exceptional materials on special education include an overview of the applicable law, a discussion of practice before the Bureau of Special Education Appeals, and a review of approaches to advocacy on behalf of both students and school districts.

    Recent updates:

    • Update: July 2020

      Dear Subscriber:

      Thank you for updating your library with the 2020 supplement to School Law in Massachusetts. This latest version of the book brings updated resources within your immediate reach—for fast, accurate, and practical answers to your questions.

      Highlights from the many topics addressed in this supplement include

      • a 2019 law, the Student Opportunity Act, that made substantial changes in funding and required school districts to report on goals for addressing persistent disparities in achievement;
      • a newly added discussion of virtual schools;
      • a new advisory from the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education on interdistrict school choice;
      • the regulation of public comment periods in school committee meetings;
      • a new section reviewing the school committee's role in approving private schools;
      • provisions of the Criminal Justice Reform Act of 2018 addressing the role of school resource officers (SROs);
      • cases addressing the tension between the First Amendment and student threats and bullying;
      • pending Massachusetts legislation that would make diversion the default approach for dealing with allegations of sexting between minors;
      • ongoing court review of the circumstances under which e-mails and other communications will be considered education records for purposes of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA);
      • case law on discipline based on students' social media posts; and
      • actions under the Massachusetts Tort Claims Act.

      Highlights specifically relating to special education include

      • state legislation on dyslexia screening;
      • a First Circuit decision on whether a claim arising from a student's use of a service dog required exhaustion of remedies under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA);
      • a U.S. District Court case addressing a school district's request for attorney fees in a special education case;
      • updated information on Bureau of Special Education Appeals (BSEA) activity, including receipts of rejected individualized education programs (IEPs), facilitated team meetings, mediations, settlement conferences, hearing requests, and decisions and rulings;
      • elimination of the advisory opinion process in response to findings issued by the Office of Special Education Programs of the U.S. Department of Education;
      • substantial revisions to the BSEA's hearing rules;
      • an update to the definition of Asperger's Syndrome as set forth in the International Classification of Diseases;
      • additional guidance on postponements and expedited and accelerated hearings in BSEA proceedings; and
      • a Third Circuit finding that a parent was substantially justified in rejecting a prehearing settlement offer that did not include attorney fees.

      We trust you will find this latest version of School Law in Massachusetts an invaluable resource for your busy practice.

      Very truly yours,

      John M. Lawlor, Esq., MCLE Publications Attorney

    • Update: July 2018

      Dear Subscriber:

      Thank you for updating your library with the 2018 supplement to School Law in Massachusetts. This latest edition brings updated resources within your immediate reach—for fast, accurate, and practical answers to your questions.

      The 2018 supplement includes a new chapter on student records. Authors John Foskett and Caroline Thibeault address applicable state and federal law, identifying the relevant differences between the two approaches and discussing the practical implications for students, parents, and school administrators.

      Highlights from the many developments reflected in this supplement include

      • amendments to Massachusetts public records law
        • requiring municipalities to designate "records access officers" to assist individuals with public records requests and
        • setting forth detailed procedures for the officer's handling of these requests;
      • amendments to the Massachusetts Equal Pay Act designed to prevent gender-based discrimination in wages paid for comparable work;
      • enactment of the Massachusetts Pregnant Workers Fairness Act adding pregnancy "or a condition related to said pregnancy" to the list of protected classifications under Massachusetts discrimination law and setting forth a number of related provisions on reasonable accommodations;
      • legislation, enacted in response to increases in opioid addiction, requiring each public school to develop a substance abuse policy with the assistance of the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education;
      • recent case law and other developments on student protests and demonstrations;
      • cases discussing the scope of protected speech as applied to online school-related communications; and
      • recent case law on actions under the Massachusetts Tort Claims Act.

      Highlights specifically relating to special education include

      • a Supreme Court holding that plaintiffs need not exhaust remedies under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) if filing under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and not seeking relief for the denial of a free appropriate public education;
      • new Massachusetts provisions on the use of time outs, seclusion, and restraint;
      • a Supreme Court decision clarifying the "free appropriate public education" standard, holding that the IDEA demands more than a minimal education and "requires an educational program reasonably calculated to enable a child to make progress appropriate in light of the child's circumstances";
      • guidance for attorneys and parents on handling classroom observations;
      • claims of work product protection for communications with consultants and independent experts;
      • guidance on the use of subpoenas duces tecum in special education hearings; and
      • decisions addressing the BSEA's authority to enforce settlement agreements.

      We trust you will find this latest version of School Law in Massachusetts an invaluable resource for your busy practice.

      Very truly yours,

      John M. Lawlor, Esq., MCLE Publications Attorney

    • Update: August 2016

      Dear Subscriber:

      Thank you for updating your library with the 2016 edition of School Law in Massachusetts. This latest edition brings updated resources within your immediate reach—for fast, accurate, and practical answers to your questions.

      Highlights from the many developments reflected in this edition include

      • enactment of the Every Student Succeeds Act of 2015 and compliance with the recently implemented Massachusetts Parental Leave Act and Domestic Violence Leave Act;
      • recent decisions on the evaluation of teachers and the scope of arbitrators' authority;
      • guidance on mental health support planning and law enforcement collaboration now required under G.L. c. 71, §§ 37P and 37Q, respectively;
      • updated case law on student safety, discipline, harassment, and bullying, and on the use of technology by students and faculty;
      • information on the development of statewide student assessment instruments;
      • guidance on the handling of documents in special education matters, including document retention policies, attorney-client privilege, preparation of redacted IEPs, treatment of parents' notes, and requests for HIPAA-protected information;
      • a recent Supreme Judicial Court decision holding that, after redaction to remove personally identifiable information, special education settlement agreements are subject to disclosure under Massachusetts public records law; and
      • recent case law applicable to actions under the Massachusetts Tort Claims Act.

      We trust you will find this latest version of School Law in Massachusetts an invaluable resource for your busy practice.

      Very truly yours,

      John M. Lawlor, Esq., MCLE Publications Attorney

  • Table of Contents

    Table of Contents

    expand all
    Chapter 1 expand

    Exhibit 1A

    - Checklist: Commonwealth and Horace Mann Charter Application Outline for New Operators Buy Form

    Exhibit 1B

    - Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education Advisory on Approval of Massachusetts Private Schools Pursuant to Mass. Gen. Laws c. 76, § 1 Buy Form

    Exhibit 1C

    - Guidelines for the Vocational Technical Education Program Nonresident Student Tuition Process Pursuant to M.G.L. c. 74 Buy Form

    Exhibit 1D

    - Advisory on Interdistrict School Choice Pursuant to G.L. c. 76, § 12B Buy Form
    Chapter 2 expand

    Powers and Responsibilities of the School Committee

    Buy Chapter

    Exhibit 2A

    - Sample Form for School Committee Meeting Minutes (Open Session) Buy Form

    Exhibit 2B

    - Sample Form for School Committee Meeting Minutes (Executive Session) Buy Form
    Chapter 3 expand
    Chapter 4 expand

    Collective Bargaining in Public Education

    Buy Chapter
    Chapter 5 expand

    Employment Issues Involving School Employees in General

    Buy Chapter

    Exhibit 5A

    - Checklist of Required Elements of Sexual Harassment Policies Buy Form
    Chapter 6 expand

    Exhibit 6A

    - Internet Sites Buy Form

    Exhibit 6B

    - Decisions Involving the Best Interest Standard—Teachers Retained Buy Form

    Exhibit 6C

    - Decisions Involving the Best Interest Standard—Teachers Dismissed Buy Form

    Exhibit 6D

    - Decisions Addressing the Elevation of Performance Standards Buy Form

    Exhibit 6E

    - Decisions Addressing Procedural Issues Arising in Connection with Teacher Dismissal and Nonrenewal Buy Form

    Exhibit 6F

    - Decisions Involving Allegations of Conduct Unbecoming Buy Form

    Exhibit 6G

    - Decisions Addressing Allegations of Insubordination Buy Form
    Chapter 7 expand

    Student Safety and Discipline in Public Schools

    Buy Chapter

    Exhibit 7A

    - Decisions Illustrating Analysis of Facts in Cyber Speech Cases Buy Form
    Chapter 8 expand

    Preventing and Responding to Harassment and Bullying in Public Schools

    Buy Chapter

    Exhibit 8A

    - Antiharassment Policy Buy Form

    Exhibit 8B

    - Harassment Grievance Policy Checklist Buy Form

    Exhibit 8C

    - Administrative Guidelines for Responding to Complaints of Peer Harassment by Students Buy Form
    Chapter 10 expand

    Exhibit 10A

    - Sample Acceptable Use Policy for Staff Buy Form

    Exhibit 10B

    - Sample Acceptable Use Policy for Students Buy Form

    Exhibit 10C

    - Selected Decisions Addressing Free Speech and Online Student Expression Buy Form

    Exhibit 10D

    - Selected Decisions Addressing Employee Online Speech Outside of Work Buy Form
    Chapter 11 expand

    An Overview of Special Education Law

    Buy Chapter

    Exhibit 11A

    - Special Education Eligibility Checklist Buy Form

    Exhibit 11B

    - Checklist for Examining the Independent Evaluation Option Buy Form

    Exhibit 11C

    - Services and Placements Checklist Buy Form

    Exhibit 11D

    - IDEA Discipline Outline Buy Form

    Exhibit 11E

    - Checklist for Special Education Hearings Buy Form
    Chapter 12 expand

    Special Education: Practice Before the Bureau of Special Education Appeals

    Buy Chapter

    Exhibit 12A

    - Mediation Letter Buy Form

    Exhibit 12B

    - Information on BSEA Mediation Buy Form

    Exhibit 12C

    - Hearing Rules for Special Education Appeals Buy Form

    Exhibit 12D

    - BSEA Appeals Standing Orders Buy Form

    Exhibit 12E

    - Hearing Request Form Buy Form

    Exhibit 12F

    - Notice of Hearing Buy Form

    Exhibit 12G

    - Checklist of the Basic Elements of a BSEA Expedited Hearing Schedule Buy Form

    Exhibit 12H

    - Advancement/Postponement Request Form Buy Form

    Exhibit 12I

    - Statement on the Effect of BSEA Decision and Rights of Appeal Buy Form
    Chapter 13 expand

    Special Education: Advocating on Behalf of Students and Parents

    Buy Chapter

    Exhibit 13A

    - Sample SPED Intake Form Buy Form

    Exhibit 13B

    - Checklist of Questions for Initial Review of Client’s Records Buy Form

    Exhibit 13C

    - Feedback from BSEA Hearing Officers Buy Form
    Chapter 14 expand

    Special Education: Advocating on Behalf of School Districts

    Buy Chapter
    Rebecca L. Bouchard, Esq., Chicopee Public Schools

    Exhibit 14A

    - Technical Assistance Advisory SPED 2014-1: DSM 5 Changes and the Impact on Students with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) Buy Form

    Exhibit 14B

    - Checklist: Specific Areas of Need to Be Considered in Developing IEPs for Students with Autism Spectrum Disorder Buy Form

    Exhibit 14C

    - Technical Assistance Advisory SPED 2007-1: Autism Spectrum Disorder Buy Form

    Exhibit 14D

    - Transition Planning Form (TPF) Buy Form

    Exhibit 14E

    - Chart Showing Options for Disciplining Children with Disabilities Buy Form

    Exhibit 14F

    - Chart Showing Requirements for “Removals” Under 1999 IDEA Regulations Buy Form
    Chapter 15 expand

    Exhibit 15A

    - Checklist of Actions to Be Taken by a School Employee Sued in Tort Buy Form

    Exhibit 15B

    - Motion to Dismiss Count I of Plaintiff’s Complaint Buy Form

    Exhibit 15C

    - Memorandum of Law in Support of Defendant’s Motion to Dismiss Count I of Plaintiff’s Complaint Buy Form

    Exhibit 15D

    - Motion to Amend Track Designation Buy Form

    Exhibit 15E

    - Petition for Approval of Minor Settlement Pursuant to G.L. c. 231, § 140C½ Buy Form

    Exhibit 15F

    - Motion to Impound Complaint and to Use Pseudonyms Buy Form

    Exhibit 15G

    - Decisions After Brum v. Town of Dartmouth Illustrating Protection to Schools Under G.L. c. 258, § 10(j) Buy Form
    Chapter 16 expand

    Basic Rules of Public School Budgeting and Finance

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  • Editors & Authors

    Editor(s)

    Author(s)

    Rebecca L. Bouchard, Esq., Chicopee Public Schools, Chicopee
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