Education Law is the Focus for the Spring Meeting
by Cynthia Landau, Assistant Law Librarian and Professor of Law, Franklin Pierce Law Center

We hear about education law issues in the news every day. Sometimes we hear about an issue the U.S. Supreme Court is deciding, such as whether the use of vouchers to fund parochial schools is a violation of the separation of church and state; sometimes we hear about a state or local issue regarding equality of education and how it will be funded (our favorite topic of discussion in New Hampshire!) Usually it is controversial. Is it sexual harassment when a six year old kindergartener kisses his female classmate? How can the federal government mandate schools to furnish special education programs without providing funding? How can we work to prevent school violence? What legal rights does your school child have against bullying? Is the school liable for injuries? What kind of first amendment and privacy rights do school children have? What about the digital school environment? Is it OK for school and public libraries to install filtering software to block explicit Internet sites from their young patrons? How has the Children's Internet Protection Act changed the scene? What about the increasing use of distance learning by universities? How does distance learning work? What copyright and ownership issues does this new method of delivering education raise?

Franklin Pierce Law Center is hosting the Spring, 2002 LLNE Meeting, and our program focus is education law. The meeting, which will be held on Friday, April 26th at the Law Center in Concord, New Hampshire, is called "Slicing the Apple: Current Topics in Education Law". (Also, in conjunction with the LLNE meeting, a NELLCO directors' meeting will be held at Pierce Law starting at 10:00 AM on Thursday, April 25th). Our LLNE programing goal is to sensitize attendees to a wide variety of issues, and to highlight trends and hot topics in the field of education law. We will have two perspectives programs to provide overviews; then we have two more programs providing more depth in the most rapidly changing areas of education law: educational funding, and education issues within the digital environment.

We will first hear from Professor Sarah Redfield, who teaches several education law courses at Franklin Pierce Law Center. Professor Redfield has been our pioneer in developing courses in the distance education medium. She has also, for the past ten years, planned and held a major annual conference, the Education Law Institute, offering programs which have given broad coverage to many current issues within education law. In her presentation to LLNE she will provide an overview of the field entitled "Supremes in the Schoolhouse", discussing recent U.S. Supreme Court activity related to education and will provide her perspective as an educator and conference organizer. Then we will hear from Mr. Theodore Comstock, Esq., who has had a career as an attorney for the N.H. School Board Association. He will provide another perspective by describing his work within the school administrative structure, focusing especially on labor and employment issues.

The more in-depth programs are focused on two areas where there has been much recent legal activity around the country and represent major areas of change in the field of education law. One of the in-depth programs is entitled "Education Funding Litigation: New Hampshire and Across the Nation" and will cover issues around the educational funding and education equity debate. We have two presenters who have been on the forefront of this movement. Mr. Andru Volinsky, Esq., a private practitioner, and Ms. Anne Edwards, Esq., from the New Hampshire Attorney General's Office, have been the lead attorneys involved on opposing sides of this issue in the Claremont cases, where New Hampshire's battle on education funding is still being fought. The speakers will discuss this movement not only from the New Hampshire perspective, but will also provide an overview of its status in other states around the country.

Our final in-depth program focuses on education law in the digital environment. Professor Jon Garon of Franklin Pierce Law Center will speak about a variety of intellectual property issues related to distance learning, including copyright and fair use. Professor Susan Richey, also of Franklin Pierce Law Center, will discuss a variety of additional, non-intellectual property issues related to the digital environment and distance learning, including privacy and first amendment rights of students and teachers.

During the luncheon break, Darcy Kirk, Law Library Director and Professor of Law at the University of Connecticut School of Law Library, will preside at the LLNE Business Meeting, and special guest Sally Holterhoff, from the Valparaiso School of Law Library, will be representing the AALL Executive Board. After the programs, Professor Sarah Redfield will offer a distance learning demonstration and the library staff will provide library tours. Throughout the day's activities we will be trying to create an appropriate environment to help you remember the feeling of being at school, to enhance your understanding of education law by helping you regain the perspective of how it felt to be a student.

More information about the meeting and the speakers is available at the web site, http://www.fplc.edu/library/llne.htm (link no longer working 7/14/02-rmo)

Registration materials for the meeting have been mailed. If you need a registration packet or more information, please call (603) 228-1541, and speak with Roberta Woods at extension 1199 or Cindy Landau at extension 1132. Or you could email either of them at rwoods@piercelaw.edu or clandau@piercelaw.edu. We hope you will be able to join us for what should prove to be a very interesting and timely program, as well as providing a great chance for you to connect with other LLNE members.


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