Legal Advocacy

Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin (U.S. Sup. Ct. - Merits Brief 2015)

Whether the Fifth Circuit’s re-endorsement of the University of Texas at Austin’s use of racial preferences in undergraduate admissions decisions can be sustained under this Court’s decisions interpreting the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, including Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, 133 S. Ct. 2411 (2013)

Education Leaders Assert Supreme Court Standard Should Dictate School Districts’ Liability Under Title IX

Alexandria, Va. (September 30, 2015) - The National School Boards Association (NSBA), joined by the Texas Association of School Boards (TASB) filed a “friend of the court” (amicus) brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit regarding Salazar v. South San Antonio Independent School District, urging the Court to overturn the trial court’s decision. The Court will consider whether a school district may be held liable under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 for the sexual assault of a student by a school principal when the abuser was the only school official with actual knowledge of the offense. . .

“If the Court of Appeals affirms the lower court’s decision, it will create a precedent where a district can be found liable based solely on wrongdoing by a school official, regardless of how vigilant a school district is in monitoring employees, and without the district being given the opportunity to address the harassment in question,” stated Thomas J. Gentzel, Executive Director, National School Boards Association. “It has been our long held position that Title IX liability of school districts should be determined strictly in keeping with the standards established by the U.S. Supreme Court.”

SB v. Board of Education of Harford County (4th Cir.)

Legal System: Section 504 claims seeking monetary damages for alleged peer harassment based on disability are subject to Title IX standard set forth in the U.S. Supreme Court in Davis

Court Urged to Maintain School District Flexibility in Responding to Disability Harassment Complaints

Alexandria, Va. (September 23, 2015) - The National School Boards Association (NSBA), joined by the Maryland Association of Boards of Education (MABE), filed a “friend of the court” (amicus) brief in the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals (MD, NC, SC, VA, WV) in SB v. Board of Education of Harford County, urging the Court to uphold the district court’s decision in favor of the school board.

“It’s important to guard against any precedent that would allow a school district to be found deliberately indifferent if bullying or harassment by others continues, despite a district’s efforts to address reported misconduct,” said Thomas J. Gentzel, Executive Director, National School Boards Association. “Changing the standard from deliberate indifference to strict liability would rob school districts of the flexibility they need in responding to claims of harassment based on their educational judgments and knowledge of the school environment.”

NSBA leads education groups urging Supreme Court to protect teachers required to report child abuse

The National School Boards Association (NSBA), joined by the Ohio School Boards Association (OSBA), and 15 other national organizations filed an amicus brief, “friend of the court” in the U.S. Supreme Court in Schott v. O’Reilly (formerly Wenk v. O’Reilly) urging the Court to protect teachers and other school officials from claims arising out of their mandatory obligation to report instances of suspected child abuse.

Schott v. Wenk (U.S. - Petition Brief)

Liability: §1983 liability of mandatory reporters of suspected child abuse or neglect; even when (a) there is a reasonable basis to suspect abuse and (b) the report is not materially false—impermissibly chill child abuse reporting across the nation; (2) Can a First Amendment retaliation claim be maintained under Section 1983 against a statutorily mandated reporter of known or suspected child abuse when there is evidence in the record that would support a reasonable basis to suspect abuse and the report is not materially false; (3) Is a statutorily mandated reporter of known or suspected chi

OCR June 2015 Response to NSBA's March 2015 Letter RE: OCR's November 2014 "Dear Colleague Letter" Title II "effective communication" Regulatory Guidance

On June 15, 2015, the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) sent a letter to the National School Boards Association’s (NSBA) General Counsel Francisco M. Negrón, Jr. responding to his March 5, 2015 letter to OCR regarding the regulatory guidance it issued in November 2014 on the subject of the Americans with Disabilities Title II "effective communication" regulation. 

NSBA Takes Lead in Helping School Districts Implement Landmark Same-Sex Marriage Decision

Alexandria, Va. (June 26, 2015) – On Friday, June 26, 2015, the United States Supreme Court issued an historic decision in Obergefell v. Hodges. In the opinion, the Court held that the Fourteenth Amendment of the United States Constitution requires a state to license a marriage between two people of the same sex and to recognize a marriage between two people of the same sex when that marriage was lawfully licensed and performed out-of-state. 

In keeping with the work done in the DOMA case, NSBA will be leading the charge in helping school districts understand the impact of the holding in Obergefell and will be releasing a publication, within the next week, which will help school districts understand the impact that the holding in the case will have on their operations

The DOMA FAQ can be found at: http://www.nsba.org/dos-and-donts-doma

Detailed legal analysis on this case can be found by clicking:  NSBA’s Legal Clips

Seth B. v. Orleans Parish School Board (5th Cir.)

Special Education & Disabilities: Whether IDEA requires publicly-funded independent educational evaluations (IEEs) to meet state and local school district evaluation criteria

NSBA Applauds Ruling in Favor of School Discretion in Maintaining Safe, Harassment-Free Learning Environments

Alexandria, Va. (April 9, 2015) - The National School Boards Association (NSBA) applauds the ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in support of schools’ discretion in maintaining safe, harassment-free learning environments. At stake in the case of Doe v. Board of Education of Prince George’s County was the standard by which school districts could be held liable for monetary damages under Title IX [1] in cases of alleged student-on-student harassment.

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