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Happy Reading for today.
Attorney General Finds that Board of Education Violated the Open
Meetings Act by Holding a Meeting in a Private Residence
In a recent binding Public Access Counselor Opinion, the Attorney
General held that a board of education violated the Open Meetings Act
(OMA) by holding a meeting at a private residence.
The Attorney General concluded that the fact that the meeting was held
in a private residence could reasonably be expected to deter the public
from attending the meeting because the public may have felt
uncomfortable going to the superintendent’s home. Thus, the Attorney
General held that the superintendent’s home was ill-suited for a public
The Attorney General also noted that the Board had not established that
there were no other options at its disposal. The Board could have
requested that the building be opened or held the meeting at another
public location or rescheduled the meeting.
Although the Attorney General did not take the further step of declaring
that the levy was illegal, the Attorney General’s opinion makes clear
that public meetings must take place at a convenient public location.
Middle School Student Suspended For Hugging Teacher
it is against the school’s disciplinary policy to hug a teacher and
hugging a teacher is classified as a Level II offense. The teacher
argues that in addition to Ryan violating the school’s ban on hugging,
Ryan had “hugged her with a tight grip” and therefore, her actions of
grabbing him by the arm, writing him up, and suspending him from school
are all warranted.
Guidance for Certain Foreign Students Applying for H-1B Status
Under the immigration regulations, certain students with pending or
approved H-1B petitions are permitted to remain in the United States in
F-1 status during the period of time when an F-1 student’s status and
work authorization would otherwise expire. Under these special rules,
the student’s F-1 status is extended and he or she can remain in the
United States until the start date of the new, approved H-1B employment
period. This special extension is called the “cap-gap” extension because
it fills the “gap” between the normal end of F-1 status and the
beginning of H-1B status. The gap often occurs because most students
graduate or complete their post-completion Optional Practical Training
(OPT) in May or June and H-1B visas, normally exhausted months earlier,
are not available again until October 1.
To be eligible for the cap-gap extension, an F-1 student must have an
H-1B petition filed on his or her behalf and that petition must be filed
while the student’s authorized F-1 admission is still in effect. In
other words, the petition must be timely filed during the academic
course of study, the authorized period of post-completion OPT, or during
the 60-day grace period. In addition, the H-1B application must indicate
a request for an October 1st start date (the first day of the upcoming
fiscal year). Once a timely filed request to change status to H-1B on
October 1 has been made, the automatic cap-gap extension begins and
continues until the H-1B petition adjudication process has been completed.
AB 2028 (Teacher Discipline & Dismissal) On the Move
AB 2028 (Knight and Smyth), which amends the procedure for disciplining
teachers for misconduct, has passed through the Assembly Education
Committee. Among other changes to current law, AB 2028 would allow
districts to initiate dismissal process during the summer months; would
eliminate the 45 or 90-notice for unprofessional conduct or
unsatisfactory performance; changes the Commission on Professional
Competence to include only the administrative law judge, whose decision
would be advisory in nature only with final decision being made by the
governing board; and eliminate the prohibition of evidence more than
four years old.
At least three other bills related to teacher misconduct were also
introduced this year: AB 1681 (stripping teachers who are convicted of
misconduct of their pensions), SB 1059 and SB 1530 (which both modify
the notice and hearing procedures required for teacher dismissals, in
line with AB 2028).
These bills were introduced in response to recent allegations of teacher
misconduct, including the allegations against a Miramonte Elementary
School teacher who has been charged with 23 counts of lewd conduct and
who was under investigation for two years.
Is a “Jesus Is Not a Homophobe” T-Shirt Protected by the First Amendment?
Can the school constitutionally prohibit Maverick from wearing the
T-shirt to school?”
Lambda Legal Defense Fund filed suit on behalf of Maverick and his
mother, Tonya Couch; alleging that school officials violated Maverick’s
First Amendment rights by refusing to allow him to wear the T-shirt to
school. A day after the lawsuit is filed, a status conference was held
with Judge Barrett of the U.S. District Court of the Southern District
of Ohio. The school district partially reversed its ban; Maverick can
wear the T-Shirt to school one day a year. In support of Maverick being
able to wear the T-shirt to school on any day he so chooses, Lambda
alleged that the law is clear on this issue, if there is no evidence
that the T-shirt causes a substantial disruption in the classroom; the
student can wear the T-shirt to school. Furthermore, it is clearly
established that the law doesn’t consider a student’s conduct or
expression to be substantially disruptive just because other people
don’t like the message.
Effect of Revocation of Consent for IDEA Services on Entitlement to 504
Students who are eligible for special education and related services
under the IDEA are also eligible for services under Section 504 (though
not all students eligible under Section 504 are eligible under the
IDEA). Districts satisfy the provisions of Section 504 for these
students when they provide services and accommodations under an IEP. So
if the parents of a student eligible under the IDEA and Section 504
revoke consent for IDEA services, must the district provide services
under a 504 plan?
According to a federal district court in Missouri, the answer is “No.”
Two Crises Highlight China’s Social Media Struggles
China is clamping down on social media as it grapples with a crisis over
the escape of a high-profile dissident, apparently to U.S. protection.
The case presents new difficulties for a Chinese leadership already
struggling to deal with the scandalous downfall of a powerful
politician, and it complicates U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s
visit to Beijing this week.
Yet China’s use of social media in dealing with these two recent crises
has been a study in contrasts.
No Escape from Student Loans Through Bankruptcy
A study released in the spring of 2011 found that only 56 percent of
graduates from the year before had found jobs, and for those that did,
starting salaries were down from previous years.
The totals are staggering: Students borrowed over $100 billion in 2010,
and the total unpaid debt in the country now tops $1 trillion– more than
the nation’s credit card debt.
There is one way to erase student debt through bankruptcy — get the
court to find a person has “undue hardship” in making payments. However,
the process is easier said than done.
The litigation process is expensive. “To do undue hardship you need a
trial, and there are additional fees that have to be paid beyond the
regular bankruptcy,” Markus says. “Most of the clients that have a
viable undue hardship case can’t afford the attorney. It’s definitely a
Markus lists the three factors that a person must satisfy to be eligible
for an undue hardship discharge (for the west coast’s Ninth Circuit;
other parts of the country may have different but similar tests):
– You cannot maintain, based on current income and expenses, a ‘minimal’
standard of living for yourself and your dependents if forced to repay
– Additional circumstances exist indicating that this state of financial
affairs is likely to persist for a significant portion of the repayment
period of the student loans
– You made a good faith effort to repay the loans
Law Brings Rescue from Suffocating Student Debt
The average college student graduating with $25,000 in the red, and the
total unpaid debt surpassing $1 trillion nationwide.
A new law under consideration by the United States Senate could make
bankruptcy a viable option for consumers who are struggling to repay
their student loans, if the loans came from a private lender.
-Student loans cannot currently be discharged in bankruptcy without rare
-$1 trillion in student debt seen as threat to the nation’s economy
-“Fairness for Struggling Students Act” would grant avenue of relief for
people who can’t pay
Ex-Dean: I Expect Some Law Schools to Close
Some law schools to close their doors because of the student debt
crisis. She also handicaps whether Congress will amend the bankruptcy
code to let students discharge their student loan debt if they file for
UK Border Authority orders Heathrow to suppress evidence of massive
customs queues – cover it up rather than fix it!
The Titanic could finally reach New York, but this time escorted by a
Billionaire Clive Palmer, a 58-year-old native of Australia’s Queensland
state who made his fortune in mining, said on Monday that he has invited
China’s navy to shepherd the replica “Titanic II”, the flagship of a new
fleet of cruise liners that he plans to build, on its maiden voyage
across the Atlantic scheduled for 2016.
The ship, to be built by the Chinese state-owned CSC Jinling Shipyard,
will have similar dimensions to the original ill-fated Titanic which
struck an iceberg and sank on April 15, 1912.
“It is going to be designed so it won’t sink,” Mr. Palmer told
reporters. “It will be designed as a modern ship with all the technology
to ensure that doesn’t happen.”
Granny army helps India’s school children via the cloud
No-one does love and encouragement better than a granny. Now that love
is being spread across continents, as UK-based grandmothers extend their
embrace to school children thousands of miles away in India. Jackie
Barrow isn’t a granny yet but as a retired teacher she felt she might
qualify for an advert in The Guardian newspaper calling for volunteers
to help teach children in India. She did and today, three years on, she
is reading “Not Now Bernard” via Skype to a small group of children in
the Indian city of Pune.
Researcher misinterprets Oracle advisory, discloses unpatched database
Instructions on how to exploit an unpatched Oracle Database Server
vulnerability in order to intercept the information exchanged between
clients and databases were published by a security researcher who
erroneously thought that the company had patched the flaw.
The Future of Money
The survey, released earlier this month by the Pew Research Center’s
Internet and American Life Project along with Elon University’s
Imagining the Internet Center, asked just over 1,000 technologists and
social scientists to opine on the future of the wallet in 2020. Nearly
two-thirds agreed that “cash and credit cards will have mostly
disappeared” and been replaced with “smart” devices able to carry out a
transaction. But a third of the survey respondents countered that
consumers would fear for the security of financial transactions over a
mobile device and worry about surrendering so much data about their
Sometimes, those with fewer options are the ones to embrace change the
fastest. In Kenya, a service called M-Pesa (pesa is money in Swahili)
acts like a banking system for those who may not have a bank account.
Hulu to Start Requiring Pay TV Subscription From Users (Report) – The
UK Border Authority orders Heathrow to suppress evidence of massive
customs queues – cover it up rather than fix it!
WOW – be alert! China Moves Toward One CPU Architecture to Rule Them All
Megaupload’s Dotcom gets money and Mercedes back, involved in political
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