• Court of Appeal Upholds Certificated Employee's Dismissal Over Facebook Comments

    On August 11, 2020, the Court of Appeal upheld a certificated employee’s dismissal for Facebook comments considered derogatory to students of color and immigrants, which were deemed “immoral,” rendering her “unfit to teach.”  Please refer to the attached memo from the School and College Legal Services of California for more information on the court decision.

    Youth Under Eighteen Entitled to Legal Consultation Prior to Custodial Interrogation by Law Enforcement Officer

    Effective January 1, 2021, Senate Bill 203 will require that prior to custodial interrogation by a law enforcement officer (including a school resource officer) and prior to a waiver of any Miranda rights, a student under eighteen years of age must be allowed to consult with legal counsel (which can be in person, by telephone, or by video conference) and the consultation may not be waived.  Failure to comply with this legal requirement may affect the admissibility of the student’s statements at a criminal hearing and affect the credibility of the law enforcement officer.  Please refer to the attached memo for more information and exceptions. 

    Changes in Truancy Laws

    This Legal Update addresses recent changes to, and interpretations of, laws related to habitually truant students.  This year, the California Supreme Court answered two questions related to truancy proceedings. The case involved a ninth grade student who was not referred to a school attendance review board (“SARB”) prior to the district attorney filing to make the student a ward of the court after the parent had received three truancy notices for at least 19 absences or tardies in less than one year. The first question before the Court was whether the use of a SARB process or a similar truancy mediation program is required for a juvenile court to have jurisdiction, i.e. authority to exercise control, over a student. The second question was whether the issuance of a fourth truancy report is required before a juvenile court may exercise jurisdiction over a minor on the basis of truancy.  Please refer to the attached memo from the School and College Legal Services of California for more information.

    Posting of Title IX Training Materials

    One of the many new requirements of the Title IX regulations that went into effect on August 14, 2020, is that each recipient must publish on its website the training materials used to train its Title IX Coordinator, Investigator, Decision-Maker, and Informal Resolution Facilitators.  It is recommended that if the training materials were proprietary, and thus copyrighted, you list the materials by its title, but not make them available on your website. Additionally, it's recommended that you further state on your website that the materials may be available for inspection with the Title IX Coordinator.  Please refer to the attached SCLS Memo for additional information and recommendations.

    Mandatory Employee Trainings

    While there are many available trainings offered to school employees, only some are mandated by law.  Please refer to the attached SCLS Memo for a list of trainings that are mandated by law for school employees, the frequency by which they must be completed, and the relevant legal citation.

    Senate Bill 820's Wide-Ranging Amendments to the Law

    The attached legal update reviews some key changes to the law made by Senate Bill 820 (“SB 820”), the education cleanup bill passed on September 21, 2020. The bill affected everything from distance learning, charter schools, the definitions of instructional materials, how SELPAs may use their funds, changes to the local control funding formula (“LCFF”), state preschools, and county superintendent duties. For more in-depth detail, please refer to Senate Bill 820, attached here, and the School and College Legal Services memo, attached here.

    Student Social Media - Searching, Gathering, and Maintaining Information

    In these days of distance learning, many Local Education Agencies (“LEAs”) are considering adopting the use of a computer program to search the social
    media of students to gather information regarding school and student safety. For example, Bark offers a free web filtering service for schools.
    However, prior to the implementation of such a program for “educational purposes”, Assembly Bill (“AB”) 1442, mandates the completion of various
    requirements along with on-going LEA responsibilities. AB 1442 is codified at
    Education Code § 49073.6, which is attached to this Legal Update.