This Legal Ledger post is a follow-up on previous recent posts, with new or expanded resources and a reminder of an upcoming deadline for districts.
Threat assessment teams
As noted in the Legal Ledger last September, March 24, 2023, is the deadline for each district to create threat assessment teams for every school building within the district that is serving students in grades 6 through 12. This requirement was enacted as part of the SAVE Students Act, which presents a new comprehensive approach to school safety. The SAVE Students Act includes both physical and emotional safety requirements to create safe and supportive schools. More information about threat assessment teams and other requirements in the SAVE Students Act is available on the Ohio Department of Education’s (ODE) website.
Among the SAVE Students Act’s physical safety requirements, along with the creation of threat assessment teams, is the creation of threat assessment plans and protocols to be included in emergency management plans. The Ohio School Safety Center (OSSC) has prepared a Model Threat Assessment Policy and Protocol to answer many questions districts may have about threat assessment plans. OSSC has a wide range of resources on its website about threat assessment plans and protocols, which can be found on its PK-12 School Emergency Management Plans/EMT page. Among these resources is a sample Emergency Operations Plan that can be customized by each district’s building to meet its unique needs.
The Legal Ledger frequently provides news related to Title IX, which prohibits discrimination based on sex in public schools and other programs or activities receiving federal financial assistance. Earlier today, the Office for Civil Rights (OCR) at the U.S. Department of Education released new resources to support equal opportunities in athletics under Title IX.
One of the new OCR resources, Title IX and Athletic Opportunities in K-12 Schools, was prepared for students, parents, coaches, athletic directors and school communities. It includes information about Title IX as well as a series of questions to help schools determine whether their programs meet the requirements in the law. Another resource, Supporting Equal Opportunity in School Athletic Programs, was developed for students and parents.
Special education eligibility for students with developmental delays
Just a few weeks ago, the Legal Ledger reported that the General Assembly had changed the definition of “child with a disability” under Ohio law, increasing the maximum age when are eligible for services as students with developmental delays. In the blog, OSBA’s division of legal services noted ODE was working on guidance materials to support school districts implementing this change. Those materials are now available on ODE’s Preschool Special Education page, including a Q&A on the age expansion to help districts with questions.
The division will continue to monitor developments in these and other areas and provide updates they become available. Please contact the division with general questions and the district’s legal counsel with questions about specific situations.