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BREAKING: Univ. of Wisconsin – Milwaukee newspaper announces lawsuit against former student government officials for theft

(12/11/11 10:56pm)

Student journalists at The UWM Post at the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee announced late Sunday they plan to sue two former student government officials, alleging they participated in the theft and destruction of 800 copies of the newspaper in November October. In a news story, the paper said it's own investigation revealed former Student Association President Alex Kostal directed his office manager to steal the newspapers.

School attorneys working hard to tip the balance against students like Emma Sullivan

(12/11/11 2:40pm)

A high school student makes a coarse remark about a prominent politician on Twitter. The post comes to the attention of her principal, who gives her a stern lecture about civility but recognizes that his authority goes no further, and that any punishment must come from the student’s parents. This is a delicately balanced system of freedom versus authority at work – and in the case of tweeting Kansas teen Emma Sullivan, the system did work. Emma received a chewing-out for her unkind (but constitutionally protected) message about Kansas Gov.

Miss. student settles lawsuit after being excluded from yearbook because of her tuxedo

(12/13/11 4:04pm)

The Mississippi teenager whose yearbook portrait was removed because she wore a tuxedo will have her photo displayed alongside her classmates’ in the school library, as part of a settlement reached with the school district last week. The Copiah County School District also will scrap its portrait policy that required male students to wear tuxedos and female students to wear drapes for their official yearbook photos, the ACLU of Mississippi announced. Instead, all students will don graduation caps and gowns for their photos. Ceara Sturgis, a 2010 graduate of the Wesson Attendance Center, filed a discrimination lawsuit “on the basis of sex and on the basis of sex stereotypes” against the eastern Mississippi school district in August 2010. Sturgis, who prefers more masculine clothing, felt “uncomfortable” wearing the drape, designed to mimic a dress, in her photo.

Dept. of Education tweaks FERPA rules, fails to address media concerns over "directory" access

(12/01/11 8:22pm)

New federal rules released Thursday purport to give schools and colleges greater discretion to limit access to student directories to select users for select purposes. However, it isn't clear how much practical effect -- if any -- the rules will have in public schools and colleges, where student directories generally are already obtainable through state open-records laws. The U.S.

Former Colo. student publisher reaches $425k settlement with prosecutor, ending Howling Pig legal marathon

(12/12/11 12:59pm)

After an eight-year legal fight, the former student and publisher of the Howling Pig has reached a $425,000 settlement with former prosecutor Susan Knox. Thomas Mink was a student at the University of Northern Colorado in 2003 when police searched his home and confiscated his computer.

TRANSPARENCY TUESDAY: A reminder that FERPA privacy of disciplinary records isn't all-or-nothing

(12/13/11 4:03pm)

A New Jersey court ruling released this week reinforces the now-well-established point that the public is entitled to disclosure of records from schools -- even sensitive ones that schools would prefer to classify as confidential -- with minimal edits to remove student names where necessary. In K.L.

Eleventh Circuit applies Hazelwood, turns aside Georgia college student's claim of religious viewpoint discrimination

(12/17/11 2:03pm)

A Georgia college did not violate the First Amendment in ordering a would-be school counselor to complete remedial training to learn how to set aside her personal disapproval of homosexuality when counseling gay and lesbian students, a federal appeals court has ruled. Jennifer Keeton failed to show that Augusta State University punished her for expressing religious views, or compelled her to espouse acceptance of homosexuality contrary to her beliefs, a three-judge panel of the Atlanta-based Eleventh Circuit U.S.

Epilogue to Phoebe Prince bullying case: Litigation settlements with school districts are public record

(12/28/11 5:40pm)

A Massachusetts judge's ruling involving the suicide of a teen bullying victim is the latest reaffirmation that school districts cannot lawfully enter into confidential agreements to conceal settlement payments from the public. In a Dec.