COSA School Law Seminar Fall 2021 hero graphic

Legal practice is fluid. And nothing has required school lawyers to adapt their practice more than the ongoing pandemic. The 2021 Fall School Law Seminar will provide school lawyers with timely, valuable resources to make the best decisions for their districts.

Registration is now closed for this event.

Conference Agenda

The fall seminar will include four afternoons of online sessions allowing attendees to customize their professional development by purchasing daily sessions on topics of interest or the entire conference package at a reduced rate.

The seminar will cover the most pressing legal topics facing public schools, including solutions to COVID-19 challenges as schools adapt to being back fully in person. 

Wednesday, Oct. 20: Student Rights

12:45 – 1:45 p.m.
IDEA Special Education Committee Report: An Update on Post-Pandemic Services and IDEA Reauthorization Recommendations

Join two of our COSA favorites for an update on programming for students with special needs during a pandemic, along with a discussion of the ongoing conversations with the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP). The speakers will also provide an update on COSA’s IDEA Working Group as they continue to refine recommendations for the next IDEA reauthorization. 


2 – 3 p.m.

Title IX: Where Are We Now, Where Are We Going?

Title IX is (still) in a state of flux. But ignorance is no excuse for violations. School lawyers must be prepared to guide their clients on Title IX sexual harassment, transgender, and athletics issues.  This session will allow participants to do so confidently. 


3:15 – 4:15 p.m.

Supporting Student Health and Safeguarding Student Privacy

As schools return to a new normal in which student physical and mental health concerns are front-and-center, they must navigate the maze of federal and state student privacy laws. To date, 27 states have included social and emotional or mental health as a top priority in their ARP ESSER plans to use the new federal funds. In this session, seasoned school attorneys discuss the applicable law in a variety of current scenarios, including mental health surveys, and anticipate changes to the FERPA and PPRA regulations.

Thursday, Oct. 21: School Operations

12:45 – 1:45 p.m.

Prohibition of “Symbols of Hate” in Public Schools: Free Speech vs. Harassment, Discrimination, and Bullying

In the 2020-2021 school year, Oregon and Maryland passed legislation prohibiting “symbols of hate” in public schools. The Oregon statute pro-actively prohibits the display of nooses, symbols of “neo-Nazi ideology,” and “the battle flag of the Confederacy.” Presenters will discuss the policy implications and the potential First Amendment issues. 


2 – 3 p.m.

First Amendment Issues in the School Environment: Schoolhouse Rock! Edition

Controversial issues in the classroom, protests, and social media are consuming School Board Meetings. What should a school/district consider when issues regarding these topics arise, and what steps should you be taking when controversy hits your schoolhouse gates?

3:15 – 4:15 p.m.

COVID-19:  Not Done With Us Yet

Join a panel of your COSA colleagues for a discussion on the ever-evolving list of issues raised by COVID-19. The speakers will address the new federal funding streams; what can get districts into trouble; and whether an extension of the timeline is possible. They also will discuss their experience and lessons learned regarding the process of attempting to mandate vaccines for students and mask requirements for the current school year. 


Wednesday, Oct. 27: Labor & Employment


12:45 – 1:45 p.m.

COVID-19, Employee Attendance and Mental Health
The topic of employee mental health issues and how to manage their impact on the operation of schools has become more prevalent alongside discussions on the mental health needs of students and society as we continue through the COVID-19 pandemic. This presentation will help school attorneys better understand the legal and practical issues involved and provide a practical perspective on potential approaches to addressing such issues.

2 – 3 p.m.

Bargaining Working Conditions During COVID-19
Since Act 10 was adopted in Wisconsin a decade ago, working conditions are a prohibited subject of bargaining. However, employee input in how to address health and safety issues during the pandemic is critical as a failure to adequately address employee safety concerns will lead to staff departures while too aggressive a response will potentially trigger community and, consequently, board pushback. Learn strategies to advise school districts when employees’ health and safety are in conflict with local politics. 


3:15 – 4:15 p.m.

Practical Challenges Associated with COVID-19 and Requests for Accommodation
Presenters will review the school's legal obligations under the ADA to provide reasonable accommodations to staff returning (or not) to in-person instruction amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Hear about creative, out-of-the-box solutions and tried-and-true strategies schools have implemented to support employees with anxiety or conditions placing them in high-risk categories.


Thursday, Oct. 28: NSBA Legal Advocacy Update & Ethics


12:45 – 1:45 p.m.

NSBA Legal Advocacy Update

In this popular session, NSBA Chief Legal Officer Francisco Negron will give updates on significant Supreme Court cases affecting public school, and NSBA's amicus and other legal advocacy work nationwide.


Presenter: Francisco Negron, Chief Legal Officer, NSBA 


2 – 3 p.m.

Post-Mahanoy Regulation of Student Speech: What Now? 
This session will unpack the Supreme Court’s Mahanoy decision on regulation of off-campus student speech focusing on what was decided, what wasn’t, and what guidance school attorneys can offer their clients going forward to minimize disruption while respecting students’ rights. 


3:15 – 4:15 p.m.

Lawyer Wellness:  Tips for Improving Your Well-Being (ETHICS) 
Lawyers ranked #1 in the incidence of depression in a pre-pandemic study of depression in 105 professions. The stress of the pandemic and the negative impacts of technology further tax our wellness.  Join Erica Grigg from the Texas Lawyers’ Assistance Program to learn simple ways we can take better care of ourselves and improve our well-being. 


Continuing Legal Education

The School Law Seminar provides attorneys with continuing legal education credits. Don't miss this excellent opportunity to earn up to 12 credit hours, including 1 hour of Ethics! 


Online Format

While we miss our community, and would love to see everyone in person, we have decided to present the upcoming fall seminar online. We want to provide attendees with high-quality and timely sessions that are accessible despite the many unknowns that remain as we put the pandemic behind us, including school district budgets, personal willingness to travel, the effect of the Delta variant, etc.  Please join us online on October 20-21 and 27-28. 

Registration Fees

Bundle Rates (all 4 days)

 Member   $420
 Non-member  $630 
 SAC/IHC  $280


Daily Rates

 Member    $149
 Non-member  $209 
 SAC/IHC        $89

Registration is now closed.

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