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Safety Law News for May 14th, 2019

In Pennsylvania, the United States District Court ruled that parents of a disabled child could not bring a lawsuit against a school district for releasing information about the disability for a juvenile delinquency proceeding.  The court held that neither FERPA nor HIPAA create a private right of action, the Privacy Act of 1974 does not apply to state or municipal agencies, and IDEA provides for administrative procedures to enforce the rights it created which must be exhausted before a law suit can be filed.  (Howard v. Chester County Office of Juvenile Probation and Parole).


In Connecticut, the Superior Court of Connecticut ruled that school officials should have done more to prevent a 16-year-old student from stabbing to death a high school classmate.  The court refused to dismiss the wrongful death lawsuit because notice given to administrators by the victim should have triggered mandatory school intervention procedures.  The court held that educators have a duty to protect school children from reasonably anticipated dangers. (Cimarelli-Sanchez  v. City of Milford Board of Education).


In California, the California Court of Appeal affirmed the probation condition prohibiting a student from possessing a smart phone after he was suspended and adjudicated for taking a video of a female classmate while using the toilet and posting it on the Internet.  The court ruled that the prohibition did not violate his rights because less sophisticated means of communication were still available to him, such as a non-smart cell phone, a landline phone, the mail, or in-person contact. The ban made it easier for school officials and the probation department to detect and supervise the student. (In re N.T.) 

In Colorado, officials in Douglas County agreed to allocate $10 million toward boosting security inside the Douglas County School District, less than a week after two students at STEM School Highlands Ranch shot nine of their classmates, one fatally.


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