Legal News

Addressing Emergencies on Campus:  The U.S. Department of Education, Family Policy Compliance Office, has issued guidance intended to assist school officials who may be reassessing their campus safety policies by offering a summary of the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA), as well as pertinent provisions of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (HEA) that apply to postsecondary institutions.

Student Internships – An April 28, 2011 United States Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit decision affirmed a lower court’s decision which used the primary benefit test, not the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division’s Field Operations Handbook six-factor test, to determine whether or not students in a training program were employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act.  The decision on whether or not student trainees are considered employees “. . . rested upon whether the trainees received the primary benefit of the work they performed.”  Solis v Laurelbrook Sanitarium and School, Inc.--- F.3d ---

Title IX Guidance - The Office of the Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights issued a Dear Colleague Letter April 4, 2011 to assist schools, colleges and universities to better understand their obligations under federal civil rights laws to prevent and respond to the problem of campus sexual assault. 4/6/11

School Safety Legislation - The Michigan Attorney General recently provided Opinion No. 7252 Responsibility for conducting criminal history background checks of employees of higher education institutions who provide instruction to K-12 students. The Attorney General was asked “whether higher education institutions that are engaged in providing instruction to K-12 students are required to conduct criminal background checks and obtain fingerprints of their employees who come into contact with K-12 students.” The Attorney General opined that a higher education institution is not obligated to require criminal background checks/fingerprinting of their employees who provide instruction to K-12 students at the K-12 classroom/property. The responsibility for obtaining a criminal background check rests with the board of a school district, intermediate school district, academy, or nonpublic school if the higher education instructor is contracted to provide instruction with the K-12 institution, regularly and continuously instructs the K-12 student(s), and provides instruction at the K-12 classroom/property.