Posts tagged "Schools"

Millis Public Schools v. M.P., et al. (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-023-18)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.  If you find a typographical error or other formal error, please notify the Reporter of Decisions, Supreme Judicial Court, John Adams Courthouse, 1 Pemberton Square, Suite 2500, Boston, MA, 02108-1750; (617) 557-1030; SJCReporter@sjc.state.ma.us   SJC-12384   MILLIS PUBLIC SCHOOLS  vs.  M.P. & others.[1]       Norfolk.     October 2, 2017. – February 6, 2018.   Present:  Gants, C.J., Lenk, Gaziano, Lowy, Budd, Cypher, & Kafker, JJ.     Child Requiring Assistance.  Statute, Construction.  Words, “Wilfully.”       Petition filed in the Norfolk County Division of the Juvenile Court Department on November 30, 2016.   The case was heard by Mary M. McCallum, J.   The Supreme Judicial Court on its own initiative transferred the case from the Appeals Court.     Katrina McCusker Rusteika, Committee for Public Counsel Services, for M.P.     LENK, J.  The children requiring assistance (CRA) statute, G. L. c. 119, §§ 21, 39E-39I, confers jurisdiction upon the Juvenile Court to intervene in the custody arrangements of children who are, inter alia, “habitually truant,” meaning that they “willfully fail[] to attend school for more than [eight] school days in a quarter.”  G. L. c. 119, § 21.  The statute is aimed at children who exhibit “misbehavior which is not violative of any criminal statute, but which is the cause for concern that it is indicative of problems or tendencies that may eventually lead to delinquent or criminal activity.”  R.L. Ireland & P. Kilcoyne, Juvenile Law § 4.1 (2d ed. 2006 & Supp. 2017) (Ireland & Kilcoyne, Juvenile Law).  In such cases, the Juvenile Court is tasked with examining the children’s circumstances and determining whether changing or placing conditions on their custody arrangements will help deter their potentially harmful behaviors.  Id.  The party that initiates a CRA proceeding must prove the allegations beyond a reasonable doubt.  G. L. c. 119, § 39G. In this case, we decide whether a child, M.P., who has failed continually to attend school due to a combination of physical and mental disabilities, including a severe bladder condition and autism, was properly adjudicated as a child requiring assistance on the basis of a habitual truancy CRA petition filed by the Millis public schools (school district).[2] To make this determination, we must address the novel question of what it means for a child to “willfully fail[] to attend school.”  In light of the CRA statute’s goal of deterring delinquency, the statutory requirement that a child’s failure to attend school be wilful reflects legislative concern as to why the child is regularly skipping school:  it contemplates purposeful conduct by the child.  The wilfulness requirement thus necessitates judicial inquiry into and assessment […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - February 6, 2018 at 8:49 pm

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Chadwick v. Duxbury Public Schools, et al. (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-158-16)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.  If you find a typographical error or other formal error, please notify the Reporter of Decisions, Supreme Judicial Court, John Adams Courthouse, 1 Pemberton Square, Suite 2500, Boston, MA, 02108-1750; (617) 557-1030; SJCReporter@sjc.state.ma.us   SJC-12054   NANCY CHADWICK  vs.  DUXBURY PUBLIC SCHOOLS & others.[1]       Plymouth.     May 3, 2016. – October 4, 2016.   Present:  Gants, C.J., Spina, Cordy, Botsford, Duffly, Lenk, & Hines, JJ.[2]     Privileged Communication.  Evidence, Privileged communication.  Practice, Civil, Discovery.  Public Employment, Collective bargaining.  Labor, Collective bargaining.       Civil action commenced in the Superior Court Department on December 8, 2014.   A motion to compel discovery was heard by Raffi Yessayan, J.   A question of law presented in a petition for leave to prosecute an interlocutory appeal in the Appeals Court was reported by Andrew R. Grainger, J.  The Supreme Judicial Court on its own initiative transferred the case from the Appeals Court.     Jonathan J. Margolis (Beth R. Myers with him) for the plaintiff. John J. Cloherty, III, for the defendants. The following submitted briefs for amici curiae: Ava R. Barbour, of Michigan, Matthew D. Jones, Ira C. Fader, James A.W. Shaw, Jasper Groner, Haidee Morris, Matthew E. Dwyer, Eric P. Klein, & Katherine D. Shea for Massachusetts Teachers Association & others. Paul T. Hynes & Michael R. Keefe for Professional Fire Fighters of Massachusetts. Stephen J. Finnegan & Christopher J. Petrini for Massachusetts Association of School Committees, Inc., & another.     HINES, J.  In this appeal, we consider an issue of first impression:  whether an employer, in defense of a lawsuit alleging discrimination in employment filed by a union member, may demand communications between the union member and her union representatives or between union representatives acting in their official capacity.  The issue arises on interlocutory review of a discovery dispute in a Superior Court action brought by the plaintiff, Nancy Chadwick, alleging claims of discrimination and retaliation against the defendants.[3]  The plaintiff objected to certain of the defendants’ discovery requests, asserting a “union member-union” privilege.  A Superior Court judge rejected the plaintiff’s claim and entered an order compelling production of the requested discovery.  The plaintiff filed an application for relief under G. L. c. 231, § 118, and a single justice of the Appeals Court reported the issue to a panel of the Appeals Court.[4]   We transferred the case to this court on our own motion. In her challenge to the defendant’s discovery requests, the plaintiff concedes that a union member-union privilege has never been recognized in Massachusetts.  She argues, however, that G. L. c. 150E, […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - October 4, 2016 at 8:40 pm

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Goodwin v. Lee Public Schools, et al. (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-133-16)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.  If you find a typographical error or other formal error, please notify the Reporter of Decisions, Supreme Judicial Court, John Adams Courthouse, 1 Pemberton Square, Suite 2500, Boston, MA, 02108-1750; (617) 557-1030; SJCReporter@sjc.state.ma.us   SJC-11977   KATELYNN GOODWIN  vs.  LEE PUBLIC SCHOOLS & others.[1]       Berkshire.     March 10, 2016. – August 23, 2016.   Present:  Gants, C.J., Spina, Cordy, Botsford, Duffly, Lenk, & Hines, JJ.[2]     School and School Committee, Enforcement of discipline.  Education, Disciplinary matter.  Practice, Civil, Dismissal.  Administrative Law, Exhaustion of remedies.       Civil action commenced in the Superior Court Department on December 30, 2014.   A motion to dismiss was heard by C. Jeffrey Kinder, J., and a motion for reconsideration was considered by him.   The Supreme Judicial Court granted an application for direct appellate review.     Joseph N. Schneiderman for the plaintiff. David S. Monastersky for the defendants. Sky Kochenour & Jenny Chou, for Center for Law and Education & another, amici curiae, submitted a brief.     DUFFLY, J.  The plaintiff, Katelynn Goodwin, was a high school student at the Lee Middle and High School in the town of Lee (town) when she was suspended from school for conduct that purportedly took place not on school grounds, pursuant to a school policy, based on G. L. c. 71, § 37H1/2 (§ 37H1/2), which provided that students who had been charged with felonies would be suspended.  The principal ordered the suspension in the mistaken belief that the plaintiff had been charged with a felony, stealing, or being involved in the theft of, a firearm.  Ultimately, the suspension lasted for the entire final semester of what would have been the plaintiff’s senior year, and she was unable to graduate with her class, but eventually obtained her high school diploma.  She thereafter commenced this action in the Superior Court against the Lee public schools, the superintendent of the Lee schools, and the town. The question confronting the court is whether the judge erred in allowing the defendants’ motion to dismiss based on the failure to exhaust the administrative remedies available under § 37H1/2.  We conclude that, because the tort recovery a student may seek under G. L. c. 76, § 16, provides a separate and distinct remedy from that available under § 37H1/2, a statute that establishes an expedited process by which a student may seek readmission to school, the plaintiff was not obligated to exhaust the statute’s administrative remedies before pursuing a tort claim under G. L. c. 76, § 16. Background.  The plaintiff was in her senior year of high school when […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - August 23, 2016 at 4:10 pm

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Plymouth Public Schools v. Education Association of Plymouth & Carver, et al. (Lawyers Weekly No. 11-077-16)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.  If you find a typographical error or other formal error, please notify the Reporter of Decisions, Supreme Judicial Court, John Adams Courthouse, 1 Pemberton Square, Suite 2500, Boston, MA, 02108-1750; (617) 557-1030; SJCReporter@sjc.state.ma.us   15-P-906                                        Appeals Court   PLYMOUTH PUBLIC SCHOOLS  vs.  EDUCATION ASSOCIATION OF PLYMOUTH & CARVER & another.[1] No. 15-P-906. Plymouth.     April 11, 2016. – June 30, 2016.   Present:  Cypher, Katzmann, & Massing, JJ.     School and School Committee, Professional teacher status, Maternity leave, Arbitration, Termination of employment.  Arbitration, Arbitrable question, School committee.  Public Employment, Paid leave, Termination.  Family & Medical Leave Act.       Civil action commenced in the Superior Court Department on February 18, 2014.   The case was heard by Frank M. Gaziano, J., on motions for summary judgment.     Matthew D. Jones (Ashley F. Call with him) for the defendants. Michael J. Long for the plaintiff.      MASSING, J.  Defendant Kristen Bilbo taught in the plaintiff Plymouth Public Schools (district) over the course of five consecutive school years.  She took maternity leave during two of them.  The district tendered a notice of nonrenewal at the end of the fifth year.  Bilbo asserts that her service, interrupted only by her leave permitted under the Family and Medical Leave Act, 29 U.S.C. §§ 2601 et seq. (FMLA), entitles her to professional teacher status,[2] giving her rights including arbitration of her dismissal.[3]  The district contends that Bilbo is not entitled professional teacher status or arbitration because she did not serve three consecutive full years.  We conclude that whether Bilbo has attained professional teacher status is for the arbitrator to decide. Background.[4]  Bilbo worked full-time as a special education teacher at Plymouth North High School starting on March 10, 2008, through the end of the school year in June, 2013.  She took maternity leave during her first and fourth full years as a teacher, for sixty days in 2009 and for fifty-six days in 2012.  Bilbo’s leave was authorized under the FMLA.  She was paid during both absences using accumulated sick time and a sick-leave bank available under the governing collective bargaining agreement.  Toward the end of her fifth year of teaching, by letter dated May 31, 2013, the district provided Bilbo with notice that she would not be reappointed to a teaching position for the next school year.[5]  The letter explained, “You are not being appointed to a teaching position based upon the recommendations of your supervising principal and program manager and the concerns about continuity of instruction and the education of our students.” Asserting that she possessed professional […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - June 30, 2016 at 5:00 pm

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Champa v. Weston Public Schools, et al. (Lawyers Weekly No. 10-176-15)

NOTICE:  All slip opinions and orders are subject to formal revision and are superseded by the advance sheets and bound volumes of the Official Reports.  If you find a typographical error or other formal error, please notify the Reporter of Decisions, Supreme Judicial Court, John Adams Courthouse, 1 Pemberton Square, Suite 2500, Boston, MA, 02108-1750; (617) 557-1030; SJCReporter@sjc.state.ma.us   SJC-11838   MICHAEL CHAMPA  vs.  WESTON PUBLIC SCHOOLS & others.[1]       Middlesex.     September 9, 2015. – October 23, 2015. Present:  Gants, C.J., Spina, Cordy, Botsford, Duffly, Lenk, & Hines, JJ. Public Records.  Municipal Corporations, Public record.  School and School Committee, Public record, Special education.  Education, Special educational needs.  Individuals With Disabilities Education Act.  Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.  Privacy.  Contract, Settlement agreement.      Civil action commenced in the Superior Court Department on November 14, 2012.   The case was heard by Angel Kelley Brown, J., on motions for judgment on the pleadings, and entry of final judgment was ordered by her.   The Supreme Judicial Court on its own initiative transferred the case from the Appeals Court.     Doris R. MacKenzie Ehrens for the defendants. Peter F. Carr, II, for the plaintiff. Mary Ellen Sowyrda, pro se, amicus curiae, was present but did not argue. The following submitted briefs for amici curiae: Maura Healey, Attorney General, & Peter Sacks, State Solicitor, for Department of Elementary and Secondary Education. Stephen J. Finnegan for Massachusetts Association of School Committees, Inc. Amy M. Rogers, Catherine L. Lyons, & Melissa A. Curran for Lyons & Rogers, LLC. Robert E. McDonnell, Charles L. Solomont, Caitlin M. Snydacker, Peter G. Byrne, Matthew R. Segal, & Jessie J. Rossman for American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts.     BOTSFORD, J.  In this case, the question presented is whether settlement agreements between a public school and the parents of a public school student who requires special education services are “public records” or exempt from disclosure.  We conclude that the settlement agreements, regarding placement of students in out-of-district private educational institutions, are exempt from the definition of “public records” in G. L. c. 4, § 7, Twenty-sixth.  The agreements qualify as “education records” under 20 U.S.C. § 1232g (2012 & Supp. II 2014), known as the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), and as such, fit within exemption (a) of the definition of “public records,” G. L. c. 4, § 7, Twenty-sixth (a) (exemption [a]).  The settlement agreements also contain information that relates to specifically named individuals, the disclosure of which may qualify as an “unwarranted invasion of personal privacy,” and therefore fit within exemption (c), G. L. c. 4, § 7, Twenty-sixth (c) (exemption [c]).  We further conclude, however, that the settlement agreements may be redacted to […]

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - October 23, 2015 at 4:01 pm

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When’s The First Day of School for Boston Public Schools?

Find out when the kids go back, and other important dates for the upcoming school year. South End Patch News

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - August 6, 2013 at 10:02 pm

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When’s The First Day of School for Boston Public Schools?

Bookmark this page for use and reference throughout the school year. Click here for a full calendar view of the Boston Public Schools calendar for the 2013-14 South End Patch News

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - July 17, 2013 at 4:16 pm

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Boston Budget Approved: $937M for Schools, $196M for City Projects

By: David Ertischek The Boston City Council unanimously approved the city's $ 2.6 billion operating budget for fiscal year 2014 on Wednesday, the last budget to be submitted by outgoing Mayor Thomas Menino.  The budget includes $ 196 m South End Patch News

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - July 1, 2013 at 8:01 am

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South End’s McKinley Among Schools That Received Suspicious Letters

One South End School, the McKinley school, was among the Boston public schools that received suspicious letters late last week. As of Friday afternoon the Boston Police Department had collected 24 suspicious letters sent to Boston public schools, according to BPDnews.com. “There does not appear to be any reason why any particular schools received letters, and it is possible that others have yet to arrive. The letters all appear to be from the same sender and have the same postmarked Texas address. The investigation is ongoing,” the BPDnews.com posting stated. Boston Police increased presence at schools across the city on Thursday and Friday, and police have said there is no credible physical threat. The letters did not contain any dangerous substances. The following schools received the letters: Adams Elementary SchoolBeethoven Elementary SchoolBoston Community Leadership AcademyBoston International High SchoolBoston Latin AcademyCharlestown High SchoolCommunity Academy of Science and HealthDorchester AcademyEdison K-8 SchoolFenway High SchoolGardner Pilot AcademyHenderson Elementary SchoolIrving Middle SchoolMather Elementary SchoolMcCormack Middle SchoolMcKinley South End AcademyMurphy K-8 SchoolO’Bryant School of Mathematics and ScienceO’Donnell Elementary SchoolOhrenberger SchoolQuincy Upper SchoolRoger Clap Innovation SchoolRussell Elementary SchoolTobin K-8 School SOUTH END PATCH: Facebook | Twitter | E-mail Updates South End Patch

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - June 10, 2013 at 11:11 am

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Connolly Wants Developers to Get Fast Track For Schools

  Boston At-Large City Councilor and mayoral John Connolly proposed allowing a fast track permitting process for large developers, if they agree to build a school or fund any of the $ 1.8 billion in construction projects identified as needed for Boston Public Schools. “We look at large school development projects and offer an option to developers to give them a fast-track permitting process. Keep it to six months, and still do the full-robust process, but get it done in six months – in exchange for building a new school or the adoption of a major school project,” said Connolly during the Boston City Council’s Wednesday meeting. He added that projects would still get rejected, and those developers would not have to build a school or adopt a project. Through recent budget hearings, Connolly said that Boston Public School (BPS) long-term facilities plan “is in development”, and that $ 1.8 billion in new construction needs have been identified, as well as $ 640 million in needed renovations and repairs, and $ 500 million in deferred maintenance costs. Connolly said that New York City has built schools on the site of developments through the NYC Department of Education Educational Construction Fund. He added that wasn’t supporting that idea, but that it was an option. He added he’s talked to some developers who loved the idea of being able to go through a six-month process compared to a three- to five-year process, whether they get the project greenlit or not. “…and red lights will still be given. And if given a ‘yes’ – they get a new school or a major renovation. That’s the way we should be doing partnerships with schools,” said Connolly. The matter was referred to the Committee on Education for a future hearing. The Boston Redevelopment Authority, Department of Neighborhood Development, BPS families and staff, as well as developers, will be invited to speak at the hearing, said Connolly. SOUTH END PATCH: Facebook | Twitter | E-mail Updates  South End Patch

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Posted by Massachusetts Legal Resources - June 6, 2013 at 9:41 pm

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