Articles Posted in Education Law

Published on:

The “Every Student Succeeds Act” (ESSA) is a law passed in 2015 that sets out to ensure that all students are afforded an equal opportunity to succeed through public education. In essence, the Act requires that states implement education programs that put students on a track to succeed and do not overlook certain groups of students in favor of the majority. Under the current ESSA framework, states are given much of the control, and the federal government acts only as a stop-gap to ensure that the standards set by the state are not too low.

In recent news, New York has sought a waiver from the ESSA mandates. New York has requested waivers from two provisions. First, New York is seeking to administer standardized testing for special needs students “below their chronological grade level.” This would allow schools to provide some special-needs children with standardized tests that were designed for younger, less advanced children. In theory, the children would perform better on these tests, and in turn New York would have an easier time meeting its education goals.

New York is also seeking to exclude the test results of recently enrolled English learners from the students’ results used to calculate the state’s progress toward its education goals. Again, the state hopes that by excluding these students who presumably are performing poorly, the overall New York education picture will look more favorable.

Continue reading

Published on:

Earlier this month, one mayoral candidate told reporters that she hopes to tighten school rules and regulations, resulting in administrators’ ability to more easily suspend students as young as five years old. According to the report, the lawmaker stated that the focus of suspensions should not be on students who acted “nasty or disrespectful to another student” but those who were “disruptive to the classroom and learning environment.”

The proposed plan is a big step back from Mayor DeBlasio’s announcement earlier this year that the administration would eschew suspension proceedings for children in second grade and below. Prior to that decision, there were over 800 suspensions for children in second grade and below in the 2016 school year. In the school year before that, almost 1,500 children of the same age group were suspended.

New York City School Suspensions

School suspensions are serious. Indeed, New York City school suspensions can have a major detrimental effect on a student’s ability to learn, socialize, and participate in productive school programs. Suspensions can also have a negative impact on a student’s ability to get into college. In addition, repeated school suspensions come with an attached stigma that a student is a “bad kid,” potentially resulting in exacerbation of negative behaviors.

Continue reading

Published on:

After suffering a sexual assault in a Stony Brook University dorm room, she suffered flashbacks, panic attacks and nightmares.

Still, she pushed forward in pursing the case through the university’s internal disciplinary procedures. She expected the experience would be difficult and trying. She did not anticipate being forced to prosecute her rapist on her own, despite having zero legal training.

The process reportedly required her to question the alleged attacker on the witness stand, and to also be subjected to cross-examination directly from him.

All this is according to a lawsuit filed against the university for violation of Title IX. This is a federal statute that bars gender discrimination at institutions of higher education that rely on money from the U.S. government. The law also encompasses claims of sexual assault, rape and sexual harassment.
Continue reading

Published on:

All parents have a right to trust that when they send their child to school, the teachers, administrators and employees will provide a safe learning environment.

When this does not happen, there are a number of legal theories upon which parents can pursue court action against the district. Those include premises liability law, which requires the city/school to keep the property in safe condition. It can also include some situations in which the child is assaulted, bullied or falls ill and the school fails to control the situation or come to the aid of the student.

A recent lawsuit out of Queens alleges a special education teacher reportedly punched a pupil with a closed fist for allegedly cheating on a test. The 36-year-old teacher has since been arrested on charges of felony assault, harassment and endangering the welfare of a child. A second mother has come forward as well, alleging the same teacher “terrorized” her daughter earlier in the school year. She too has filed a lawsuit.
Continue reading

Published on:

As we embark on the beginning of another school year, some parents are dreading the possibility that their child may face bullying from other students. Parents seek always to protect their children from harm, but this is a situation where parents often feel powerless to intervene.

However, New York City education lawyers know anti-bullying efforts here in New York and across the country have resulted in better, more streamlined response to bullying.

The 2014-2015 school year marks the third since enactment of New York’s Dignity for All Students Act (NYDASA), and the second since a major amendment was made encompassing cyberbullying, how bullying investigations must be conducted and how school districts are required to respond.
Continue reading

Published on:

Parents of special needs students face many unique and difficult challenges. Unfortunately, this is no different when working to ensure their child receives a fair and adequate public education, as required by law.

Our special education attorneys in New York realize this fundamental right is often breached, as evidenced by the fact that the U.S. Department of Education several years ago gave New York one of the lowest ratings for special education services. School districts point to looming budget cuts and lack of qualified teachers. However, parents of special education students recognize this has become an excuse for districts to fail to meet their child’s educational needs.

Even if parents don’t have solid proof, a special education advocate can help sort through whether your child has an adequate Individual Education Plan (IEP), whether the school placement is appropriate and whether the district has been proactive in securing the necessary level of after-school tutoring and assistive technology that can help students with special needs.
Continue reading

Published on:

Officials with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, along with 32 state attorneys general, are working to expand investigation into the promises and practices of for-profit colleges, with special attention being paid to student loans.

There is ample indication, the watchdogs say, that there are unfair and deceptive lending practices at these institutions. Inquiries have also led authorities to believe that schools have been overstating the results of their offerings, fudging the facts on post-graduate job placement and more. These kinds of actions are likely to spur New York education lawsuits.

Among those that are being more closely scrutinized:

  • Education Management Co. (a chain partially-owned by Goldman Sachs Group Inc.);
  • ITT Educational Services Inc.;
  • Corinthian Colleges Inc.;
  • Career Education Corp.

Continue reading

Published on:

Two high school students reportedly suffered severe burns in New York City while conducting a routine lab experiment in class.

According to news reports, the chemistry instructor had hoped to offer students a unique display of rainbow flames resulting from burning different kinds of nitrates. However, the buildup of volatile fumes instead ignited into a fireball that shot across the room, severely injuring two students. None who were present were wearing the appropriate safety goggles, witnesses say, and its alleged that a full minute passed before a fire extinguisher was located and used to put out the flames.

As the students continue to recover, the case remains under investigation. However, it seems clear there was at least some degree of negligence. The teacher and the school had a duty to ensure the safety of those children, and it seems that duty may have been breached.
Continue reading

Published on:

The boy was just 12. His mother recalls him smiling a lot. He was small and he sometimes stuttered. But his sweet nature had a way of winning over almost everyone he met.

Almost everyone.

The East Harlem boy hanged himself in the shower after two years of unrelenting bullying by a handful of his school peers. He would be tripped. Pushed. Chased. Taunted. Struck with objects. When his mother complained to administrators and the parents of the alleged bullies, it got worse.

Now, the deceased boy’s mother has filed a lawsuit against the New York City Education Department, naming also the parents of those boys who tormented her son. The lawsuit claims that not only do the parents have culpability in her son’s death, but also the city, the school administrators and the teachers. All share responsibility, she says, because they did nothing to stop the mistreatment of her son.
Continue reading

Published on:

Higher education couldn’t come at a higher premium these days, with students accepting tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt for a degree in the hopes of landing a job in an increasingly cutthroat job market.

But a new lawsuit, filed by the New York State Attorney General’s Office against the for-profit education institution founded by real estate mogul Donald Trump, underscores the required transparency in the for-profit education industry. Specifically, institutions that tout themselves as “colleges” or “universities” have certain criteria they must meet. All higher education providers have a responsibility to make their credentials clear. Anything less, our New York education lawyers know, is a form of fraud.

When Trump University was first founded several years ago, Trump was derided by many for his foray into reality television and ill-fated presidential run. It may have been tough for the public at that point to take him seriously, even though he is a billionaire.
Continue reading