2015 School Law Practice Seminar Presentations

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Thursday, October 22

9:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.

Work-alike Group Meetings

State Association Counsel Meeting and Luncheon

Your Host: Jim Keith

In House Counsel Meeting and Luncheon

Your Host: Doug Thorne

2:00 p.m. – 3:50 p.m.

Concurrent Early Bird Sessions

Session 1: Employment and Collective Bargaining

An Apple a Day and Other Tips for Managing Employee Health Issues (2:00 p.m. – 2:50 p.m.)

You have nothing without your health. This adage rings true in public schools, where the continuity of instruction depends on the health and engagement of educational professionals. The presenters will provide school attorneys with practice guidance, including a step-by-step process for addressing the top 10 employee health issues that occur in the school setting, from overuse of sick time to mental health concerns and substance abuse. They will discuss how to handle these issues efficiently and lawfully, considering the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, and employee record confidentiality requirements – all while minimizing disruption to school.

Shelli Anderson and Dana Fattore Crumley, Franczek Radelet, Chicago, IL

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Trends, Tactics, and Tentative Agreements at the Table (3:00 p.m. – 3:50 p.m.)

Visit this highly-interactive session to hear from wily veterans of collective bargaining about the latest trends and hot-button issues in collective bargaining for 2015 and beyond.  Come to challenge what you know about the latest case law developments impacting union rights and relationships, mandatory and permissive subjects of bargaining, and unfair labor practices.    Then find out what is happening with the latest legislative mandates on pay-for-performance, new teacher evaluation requirements and the like.

Lerenzo Calhoun and Douglas Griffin, Broward County Public Schools, Ft. Lauderdale, FL

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2:00 p.m. – 3:50 p.m.

Concurrent Early Bird Sessions

Session 2: Contracting Workshop

Integrated Project Delivery: Planning, Procurement and Contract (2:00 p.m. – 2:50 p.m.)

Join a COSA attorney with many construction contracts under his belt for an engaging discussion on integrated project delivery. Learn how Mr. Powell has been using this method with school board clients to set up a building project from planning through procurement, using the AIA Transitional Integrated Project Delivery templates. You’ll receive a set of sample AIA contracts Mr. Powell has used successfully.

Keith R. Powell, Childs & Halligan, Columbia, SC

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Advising School Districts in Cloud Computing Contracts (3:00 p.m. – 3:50 p.m.)

Software as a Service (SaaS) contracts are an increasingly attractive option for school districts hoping to take advantage of the benefits of cloud-based technologies. But while the list of software for students and teachers (Office 365, Adobe Creative Cloud) and enterprise solutions (MUNIS, SchoolDude) continues to grow, how can you make sure your school district’s contracts keep up with the legal issues associated with these new technologies? Using his experience negotiating and troubleshooting numerous technology agreements, a school attorney who has advised in this area will discuss key contract terms and considerations.

Tom Tokarz, Special Counsel, Henrico County Public Schools, VA

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4:30 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Opening General Session

Greetings:  Tom Gentzel, Executive Director, National School Boards Association, Alexandria, VA

Tweet Others as You Would Have Them Tweet You: Social Media and Students

We’ve come a long way from the days of Mary Beth Tinker and her silent, peaceful black armband. But the seminal case that bears her name continues to establish the boundaries of school district authority to regulate student speech. Courts have struggled to define standards for public school regulation of student speech in the era of Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. Does the distinction between what happens “on campus” and what happens “off campus” have any relevance anymore? What is the school’s authority when students use social media to bully other students? What about defamatory attacks on school personnel? COSA board member and popular national speaker Jim Walsh treats attendees to a review of recent decisions from federal circuit courts addressing student use of social media, including the Fifth Circuit’s recent en banc ruling.  Mr. Walsh will engage the audience in a discussion of key issues, practical guidance, suggested language for student codes of conduct. 

Jim Walsh, Walsh, Gallegos, Treviño, Russo & Kyle, PC, Austin, TX

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7:00 p.m.

Dine Around Miami

Friday, October 23

8:30 a.m. – 11:50 a.m.

General Session

State Legislative Trends: Significant Changes for Public Schools That Could Be Coming Your Way (8:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.)

Cameras in classrooms at a parent’s request; state “receivers” with broad authority to govern “struggling” schools; new student data privacy requirements…. Several states saw new laws in these areas in the past year, and you may be seeing similar legislation soon.  Join a panel of COSA attorneys who advise state school boards associations to learn more about state legislative trends affecting public schools.

Panelists:  Sarah Orman, Texas Association of School Boards, Austin, TX; Pilar Sokol, New York State School Boards Association, Latham, NY; Randall Bennett, Tennessee School Boards Association, Nashville, TN; Heidi Maynard, Washington State School Directors’ Association, Lacey, WA; Michael Smith, Lozano Smith, Fresno, CA

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Facebook Firings: Social Media and Free Speech Entanglements for Public School Employees (9:40 a.m. – 10:40 a.m.)

Social media is everywhere. It is inevitable that your school board clients will have to deal with an employee’s controversial posting and his/her claim that it is protected speech. In this session, COSA board member and school law veteran Phil Hartley and Hieu Nguyen analyze the First Amendment implications of controversial employee posts and provide practical suggestions to help you navigate the myriad considerations with your clients. The speakers will engage attendees with real-life examples of employee posts, examining them through standards articulated in Pickering and its progeny. Is Garcetti alive and well on social media? Find out!

Phil Hartley and Hieu Nguyen, Harben, Hartley and Hawkins, Gainesville, GA

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A View From the High Court: Significant Decisions Affecting Public Schools and the NSBA Legal Advocacy Agenda (10:50 a.m. – 11:50 a.m.)

NSBA General Counsel Francisco Negrón presents his ever-popular summary of key Supreme Court decisions, NSBA Amicus Advocacy work, and NSBA engagement with federal agencies on issues of importance to public schools.

Francisco M. Negrón, Jr., National School Boards Association, Alexandria, Va. 

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12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.

Lunch on Your Own

1:10 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Concurrent Sessions

Session 1: Employment/Intellectual Property

Copyright and Trademark Law for the School Lawyer: Common Scenarios and Practical Solutions (1:10 p.m. – 2:10 p.m.)

During this session, school attorneys walk you through common scenarios, including ownership of teacher-made innovative instructional materials; display of student works on a school web site; use of copyrighted music in student and teacher works; complaints against school districts when school employees are accused of infringement; and protection of school-owned intellectual property. You’ll learn how to navigate the fair use doctrine; the Technology, Education and Copyright Harmonization ("TEACH") Act; and the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, and how to avoid copyright and trademark infringement liability. Come away with an update on recent cases involving technology and academic products, and copyright/trademark checklists.

Carol Simpson, Eichelbaum Wardell Hansen Powell & Mehl, Plano, TX, and Colleen Uhlenkamp, Davis & Kuelthau, Madison, WI

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Sexual Harassment in the Workplace – The Do’s, Don’ts, and Defenses of Handling Sexual Harassment Claims (2:20 p.m. – 3:20 p.m.)

This interactive session will focus on the often-complicated legal and practical aspects of sexual harassment claims in the workplace, including investigations, responding to charges of discrimination, and issues related to litigating such claims. The presenters will cover liability under both Title VII and Title IX, discussing recent developments both in sexual harassment case law and sex-based discrimination case law (such as the recent Supreme Court decision expanding rights of pregnant employees in the workplace), as well as applicable defenses and practical preventative measures. You’ll come away with sample policies and checklists, plus some perspective from your seasoned colleagues on this recurring employment issue.

Melanie Gurley Keeney and Kate Nash, Tueth, Keeney, Cooper, Mohan & Jackstadt, St. Louis, MO

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Can I Ask That? The School Lawyer’s Guide to Lawful Pre-Employment Inquiries After Abercrombie (3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.)

In this session, join a veteran of employment litigation for analysis of litigation trends and recent case law involving the hiring process, including the Supreme Court’s Abercrombie decision, recent and pending cases involving the EEOC’s guidance on criminal history inquiries, and cases addressing use of social media to investigate applicants. Ms. Brown will provide practical “do’s and don’ts” for avoiding discrimination claims and provide a chart that identifies unlawful inquiries and provides alternative lawful inquiries.

Lisa Brown, Thompson & Horton, Houston, TX

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1:10 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Concurrent Sessions

Session 2: Students/Governance

Managing Students with Health Issues: Section 504 Plans, DNRs, Contagious Diseases, and Immunizations (1:10 p.m. – 2:10 p.m.)

School districts continue to struggle with how to appropriately and legally manage the ever-increasing number of students with health issues. This interactive session provides information all school attorneys should know about accommodating students with health issues, from developing a Section 504 plan to responding to a health crisis caused by a contagious disease like Ebola or the measles. The presenters will analyze and apply current case law on school districts’ responsibilities under Section 504, IDEA and other federal and state statutes. Come away with a procedural check lists for developing Section 504 plans as well as practical tips for addressing other student health issues such as DNRs, contagious diseases and immunizations.

Jennifer Deutch and Lori Martin, Hodges, Loizzi, Eisenhammer, Rodick & Kohn, Arlington Heights, IL

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Service Animals in Public Schools: Did DOJ Go Too Far? (2:20 p.m. – 3:20 p.m.)

The school board of Broward County recently defended and lost a case in the Federal District Court for the Southern District of Florida regarding a student’s use of a service animal in school. Join the discussion of this problematic case for school districts, who now face the no-win situation of attempting to accommodate the needs of a student while adhering to Department of Justice regulations that do not allow any type of reasonable accommodation analysis. DOJ filed a Statement of Interest in this case; your school board client’s case might be next.

Marylin Batista-McNamara and Barbara Myrick, Broward County School Board, Ft. Lauderdale, FL

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Advising a Challenging School Board (3:30 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.)

In this session, participants will consider the personal, professional and political dynamics that can impact the decision making process for school boards. We will also look at how this affects counsel for the board with respect to knowing when to intervene and when not to. In addition, participants will consider various authorities, such as state law and local rules, which may govern the interpersonal relationships on the dais and assist in refocusing the board’s work.

Paul Carland, Broward County School Board, Ft. Lauderdale, FL, and Suzanne D’Agresta, Garganese, Weiss & D’Agresta, Orlando, FL

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4:45 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.

School Law Practice Seminar Reception

Saturday, October 24

8:30 a.m. – 12:10 p.m.

General Sessions

The Law and Art of Dealing With the Media Covering School-related Issues (8:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.)

In this age of the 24-hour news cycle, school attorneys frequently are called to advise when news media or parents are attacking a district, often with false or incomplete information about student discipline, or employee dismissal, a threatened strike, or a special education dispute. In this session, the presenters will ask and answer two questions: First, how does the law, including student records and other confidentiality requirements, public records/meetings law, and litigation strategy, affect how attorneys advise in media-involved cases? Second, how can school attorneys help their clients master the "art" of communicating its position through the media? The presenters - one a former print journalist with significant experience reporting on education matters and the other an experienced public relations specialist at a
Florida district, will present video clips highlighting real situations, take us through a checklist of legal issues and pitfalls to be considered, and provide a sample media plan. Come away with loads of stories and practical advice to share with your clients.

Nancy Hungerford, The Hungerford Law Firm, Oregon City, OR, and Linda Cobbe, Pasco County Schools, Land O' Lakes, FL

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The Latest from COSA (9:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.)

Greetings: Andrea Messina, Executive Director, Florida School Boards Association, Tallahassee, FL

The OCR Special Report: What You Should Know About Recent Investigation and Compliance Review Processes (10:10 p.m. – 11:10 a.m.)

Several seasoned COSA members will share their experiences and various perspectives in navigating OCR's recently evolved approach in conducting investigations and compliance reviews. Attendees should come away from this session with a menu of essential ingredients for preparing, assembling and concluding an investigation with the hope of keeping their cooks out of your kitchen.

Séamus Boyce, Church, Church, Hittle & Antrim, Noblesville, IN, Nanci Reaves, Hampton City Schools, VA, and Lenore Silverman, Fagen Friedman & Fulfrost, Oakland, CA

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Ethics and the Life of a Lawyer (11:10 p.m. – 12:10 p.m.)

A legal career has a distinct life cycle, from newly hatched associate, through growing practitioner, then “adult” partner, and ending as distinguished retiree. Different ethical matters take center stage at different times in this cycle, and this presentation will examine a few of those issues, starting with issues of competence and zealous representation as a young lawyer, through the concerns with marketing and advertising as one’s practice develops, and ending with some of the common issues relating to closing down a practice.

Nancy Krent, Hodges, Loizzi, Eisenhammer, Rodick & Kohn, Arlington Heights, IL

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12:10 p.m.


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