New “Equal Opportunity Employment is the Law ” Poster

 November 9, 2009

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) revised its “Equal Employment Opportunity is the Law” poster to reflect current federal employment discrimination laws including the Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act of 2008 (ADAAA) and the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act of 2008 (GINA), which is effective November 21, 2009.  The revised poster also includes updates from the Department of Labor.  The ADAAA expands the definition of “disability” under the Act. GINA prohibits employment discrimination based on genetic information.

An employer must comply with the posting requirement and may do so by:  (1) posting the supplement to the poster alongside the EEOC’s September 2002 “EEO is the Law” poster or the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs’ August 2008 “EEO is the Law” poster; or (2) posting the EEOC’s November 2009 version of the “EEO is the Law” poster. Both posters are available for download from the EEOC’s website which can be accessed by clicking  here.

Amended FOIA

We are receiving numerous questions regarding the amended  Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) which becomes effective as of January 1, 2010.  Information regarding FOIA can be found in the Scariano, Himes and Petrarca, School Law Review Newsletter, Fall 2009 Issue.  For a copy of the newsletter, click  here.  Additionally, the Firm will cover the topic in depth at its annual client seminar at Seven Bridges in Lisle on February 6, 2010.  Invitations for the client seminar will go out in early December 2009.

The  Firm  is  inthe  process  of  developing  a  newschool  boardpolicy  andprocedures  incorporatingthe  recent amendments to the Act and is preparing an e-Blackboard email publication to distribute to our electronic mailing list.  In the meantime, if you have any questions regarding FOIA, please do not hesitate to call one of our attorneys.

The Firm continues to offer five free hours of in-service training annually. The training may be divided between administrators and board members, and is available on numerous topics including FOIA.  You are encouraged to contact your attorney at Scariano, Himes and Petrarca to schedule your 2010 inservice hours.

Scariano Himes & Petrarca Hospitality Suite

As a reminder, if you have not RSVP’d to attend the Scariano, Himes and Petrarca Hospitality Suite on Friday November 20, 2009 you can still do so by sending an email to emcnulty@edlawyer.com by November 13, 2009, with a list of attendees.  The Hospitality Suite will follow the IASB, IASA and IASBO 77th  Joint Annual Convention from 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at the Mid-America Club located at the AON Center, 200 East Randolph, 80th Floor, Chicago, Illinois.  To link to the invitation and for directions, click  here.

ANNUAL NOTICES TO PARENTS

 August 9, 2009

Numerous federal and state laws require that certain notices be provided to parents and students at the start of each school year. To assist you in complying with the litany of notice requirements, Scariano, Himes and Petrarca, Chtd., has created the following list of notices to be given to parents and students at the start of the school year.

•    The No Child Left Behind Act requires notice of numerous statutory requirements to parents, including: annual report cards; progress reviews; schools identified for school improvement, corrective action or restructuring; eligibility for public school choice; parental involvement policies; state education agency complaint procedures; teacher and paraprofessional qualifications; non-highly qualified teachers' student achievement information; an informational meeting on Title I, Part A; and the status of English Language Learners.

•    The Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act and the Illinois School Student Records Act, require that school districts provide to parents and adult students annual notice of their rights to inspect, review, amend, and consent to the disclosure of their child's (or their) educational records.

•    The Protection of Pupil Rights Amendment requires notice of policies regarding surveys, instructional materials, physical examinations, and student personal information that may be used for marketing.

•    School districts that participate in the National School Lunch Program, School Breakfast program, or Special Milk Program must provide notice as to the eligibility requirements for free or reduced price meals or milk.

• The McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act requires notice of the education rights of homeless students.

•    The Asbestos Hazard Emergency Response Act requires notices to parents, teachers, and employee organizations of the availability of the asbestos management plan, inspections, and any actions to be taken.

•    Title VI, Title IX, Section 504, the Age Discrimination and Employment Act, and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act require notice of non-discrimination based on race, color, national origin, sex, disability, and age. One notice of non-discrimination will meet the purposes of all of the above-referenced statutes. School districts should ensure that the notice of non-discrimination that is presented to parents includes the name of a coordinator that can be contacted in the event of discrimination.

•    The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act requires notice to parents of a child with a disability of the procedural safeguards found within the law.

•    The Illinois School Code requires school districts to provide notice of certain required policies each year, including the eligibility for waiver of certain school fees, student discipline, and the administration of medication.

•    If your district maintains a 403(b) plan, employees should be given notice of eligibility to participate in the plan. If you do not have a third party administrator contracted to provide this notice, it should be provided by the district.

School districts should be aware that this list is not exhaustive and that additional notices may be required in certain circumstances For example, the parents of those students enrolled in a sexual education class are entitled to notice of their child's enrollment in a sexual education class.

School districts should also bear in mind that, in addition to required notices set forth above, federal and state law also mandate that school districts enact certain policies which should also be distributed to parents at the start of each year. By clearly communicating school district policies to parents at the start of the year, a school district can avoid due process arguments from parents/students who claim to have lacked notice of official school policy.

Please do not hesitate to contact your attorney at Scariano, Himes and Petrarca, Chtd. to discuss requisite notices and policies. We look forward to assisting you in any way we can to ensure a successful start to the new school year.