Critical 2020-2021 Student Services Homework Assignment!
It’s now time to review and update your school’s Student & Family Handbooks to ensure you address all new critical legal requirements.
April 30, 2020
Maintaining an up to date legally compliant and comprehensive Student & Family Handbook is a critical tool to minimize liability and unnecessary disruption but moreover to ensure parents and students are connected to your School and up to date on all School policies, rules, and applicable laws. Thus, if you have not already done so, especially due to today’s ever-changing school climate, your Handbook should be at least annually reviewed and updated to address the following:
Ensure Compliance With Updates to State and Federal Law:
In 2019, many legislative changes focused on mental and physical health of students, including an optional policy on medical cannabis, mandatory updates to the school suicide prevention policy, and guidance on student cell phone use during emergencies. Updates also included changes to mandatory policies related to school discipline, sexual harassment, and educational records to name a few, but also to require mandatory posting of key policies to the School’s website as described below.
Discharge Critical Organizational and Legal Obligations By Including All Legally Required Annual Notices:
Schools are legally required to provide a number of notices annually to students and families. While schools are not required to include annual notices within the Student and Family Handbook, many schools elect to include this information within the Handbook to ensure that (1) these notices are provided to families, (2) this information is produced annually, (3) critical information is provided all in one place, and (4) documentation of compliance may be tracked.
Include All New Distance Learning Policies & Expectations:
In order to maximize efficiency and to be fully prepared in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we recommend that, to the extent possible, schools include information within their Handbooks about all policies and expectations for distance learning, work completion, grading, privacy/confidentiality, and school discipline should this continue into the 2020-2021 school year.
Comply With New Website Posting Requirements:
Charter schools are legally required to post MANY of their policies and notices on their website. The required postings include but are not limited to policies and notices in the area of admissions, educational equity and non-discrimination, health and safety, board governance, suicide prevention, anti-bullying and harassment, and employment. This list has been expanded with the legislature’s recent approval of Assembly Bill 34 (“AB 34”) which requires new updates to school websites as of July 1, 2020.
If you have any questions regarding this update, or need assistance with updating your student and family handbook, school policies, or website to meet legal requirements, please contact Lisa Corr, Matejka Handley or Casey Fee or any other member of our Student Services team at the Law Offices of Young, Minney & Corr, LLP at (916) 646-1400.
Young, Minney & Corr, LLP’s Legal Alerts provide general information about events of current legal importance; they do not constitute legal advice. As the information contained here is necessarily general, its application to a particular set of facts and circumstances may vary. We do not recommend that you act on this information without consulting legal counsel.