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Author Archives: James G. Ryan

California School District Enacts Social Media Surveillance to Counter Cyber Bullying

In response to a series of cyber bullying related teen suicides that took place in Los Angeles last year, the Southern California school district has decided to employ a social media monitoring service enabling the school to take a proactive role in curtailing cyber bullying with the hopes of saving teen lives and ensuring teen [...]

Supreme Court Upholds Strict Scrutiny Standard in Affirmative Action

On June 24, 2013, the Supreme Court in Fisher v. University of Texas reaffirmed that the strict scrutiny standard of review applies when evaluating a university’s affirmative action admissions program. On these grounds, by a 7-1 vote, the Supreme Court, vacated and remanded the Fifth Circuit’s decision affirming that the University of Texas at Austin [...]

A Bus Driver’s Right Not to Get Involved in Physical Disputes

The yellow school bus is an iconic form of transportation that has provided a longstanding service to families by picking up their children and driving them to school. As a school provided service, bus drivers are trained on how to operate the bus and abide by road regulations in order to safely transport student riders [...]

Are E-mails Education Records Under FERPA?

If a student sends an e-mail complaining about a professor, should the professor have the right to see the name of the student that wrote the complaint? What if a professor writes an e-mail to another professor about a student, would a student have the right to access to the e-mail because the e-mail discusses [...]

Transgender Youth Barred From Girls’ Restroom

Coy Mathis, born a male, has identified as a female since the age of 18 months. Now at six-years old she must confront issues that far exceed the normal trials and tribulations of the first grade classroom. Coy has dressed in girls’ clothing and presented herself as a female since being enrolled in Eagle Elementary [...]

The Pledge of Allegiance . . . Translated?

Standing in class, staring up at the American flag, placing your right hand over your heart, and reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, this is a memory we can all recall from childhood.  Recently, however, a cloud of controversy has entangled a Colorado High School were a student recited the Pledge in Arabic. Tom Lopez, the [...]

The Department of Education Requires that School Sports be open to the Disabled

Over 40 years ago, Title IX mandated that schools balance the resources allocated to men’s and women’s educational programs including extracurricular sports. The sweeping overhaul dramatically improved the athletic opportunities for females by expanding both high school and college athletic programs. The Education Department has now issued its latest “guidance” requiring that students with disabilities [...]

Anti-Semitic Bullying Claim Survives Motion to Dismiss

Eastern District Judge Arthur Spatt recently denied Northport-East Northport Union Free School Districts’ motion to dismiss in a case brought by a Northport High School student who had been subject to anti-Semitic taunts and bullying. Defendants, (which include the High School’s principal and the District Superintendent, collectively “Defendants” or “School District”), claimed that the Plaintiff [...]

Students First Amendment Rights and the Schoolhouse Gate.

The ability of school officials to limit student free speech has been a matter of significant debate since the seminal case of Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District, 393 U.S. 503 (1969). In Tinker the First Amendment rights of several students were violated when the students were suspended for wearing black armbands in [...]

Copyright Issues in Textbook Case

On Monday, October 29, 2012 the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments on an action involving a college student who sold overseas editions of college textbooks to help finance his education. While attending graduate school at the University Of Southern California, Kirtsaeng, a Thailand native, resold $900,000 worth of textbooks manufactured overseas on eBay for [...]