WASB/WSAA School Law Conference
Thursday, February 29
Hilton Appleton Paper Valley
Join us at a joint seminar for school board members and administrators organized by the Wisconsin Association of School Boards and the Wisconsin School Attorneys Association.
This conference features experienced school law attorneys presenting sessions on a variety of legal issues, including library materials, AI in education, religious accommodations, employee misconduct, Title IX and more. The day will end with a panel discussion seeking to shed light on the legal challenges school leaders may encounter in early 2024.
Conference registration is $195. Registration includes digital materials, breakfast and lunch.
The cancelation deadline is Thursday, Feb. 22 at 5 p.m. No refunds for cancellations after Feb. 22. To cancel, call toll-free 877-705-4422.
Hilton reservations: 800-774-1500
Single/Double Rate: $139
Cut-off date for hotel rooms: Feb. 7, 2024
Click here to make your reservation online. When making a reservation via phone, identify yourself as a member of the WASB/WSAA School Law Conference group or code WASB to get the special group rate.
8 a.m. Registration and Continental Breakfast
Addressing Religious Accommodations in the School Setting: Next Steps
A recent Supreme Court decision has opened the door to greater scrutiny of requests for religious accommodations in the workplace. This presentation will provide recommendations for management to address requests for accommodation from staff and students. The presenters will also update attendees on the change in standards for religious accommodation and suggest new steps that need to be taken to comply with the standards.
• Dean R. Dietrich and Davis J. Runde (Weld Riley, S.C.)
School Board Roles and Responsibilities
An effective relationship between the administration and school board is critical to the success of a school district. But the relationship can sour without clearly defined roles. This session will review each of these roles and navigate through scenarios in which school boards have occasionally struggled, such as establishing meeting agendas, handling complaints and concerns, the chain of command, board member requests for information and staff time and visits to school.
• Ben Richter (WASB)
9:30 a.m. Break
Public Employees in the Public Sphere: What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
In an era of hyper-partisanship, and during an election year, what are the parameters of public employee speech? This presentation will review the foundational cases related to employee speech, cover the latest cases and controversies and offer guidance for school board members and administrators to navigate the legal and political issues.
• Mark S. Kapocius and Ryan P. Heiden (von Briesen & Roper, s.c.)
Investigating Employee Misconduct
The foundation supporting effective employee discipline is a comprehensive approach to the collection and preservation of evidence relating to employee misconduct. This session offers a systematic approach to the investigation process with a focus on the roles of the administration and board as well as due process requirements.
• Bob Butler and Jenn Diaz (WASB)
10:40 a.m. Break
Check Yourself Before You Wreck Your “Shelf:” Avoiding Legal Pitfalls With Library Materials
The selection and potential removal of library materials has become an increasingly prominent issue across the country, and Wisconsin is no exception. While school boards have the authority to select and review library materials, that power is not absolute. School boards should be aware of several important legal issues raised in this situation, such as compliance with board policies, the state open meetings law, anti-discrimination laws and the First Amendment. Learn how to proactively establish appropriate parameters around the review of library materials.
• Brian P. Goodman (Boardman & Clark LLP) Hannah L. Chin (Whitefish Bay School District)
OpenAI in Education: Dodging Detention in the Legal Playground
This presentation examines the challenges and benefits that school districts will encounter as artificial intelligence becomes more sophisticated. As they examine how AI platforms such as ChatGPT can be used by school districts, presenters will explain AI, including its likely uses and misuses; describe methods of instruction to highlight its positive components; and cover policy considerations.
• Laura Pedersen (Renning, Lewis & Lacy, S.C.) and Kylie Owens (Attolles Law, S.C.)
11:50 a.m. Lunch
Title IX: What’s Coming Next
This session covers the proposed changes to the Title IX regulations and what districts can expect once the proposed regulations become final. The presenters discuss the changes between the existing and proposed Title IX regulations, policy considerations and implications, and the overlap between Title IX and other state and federal laws and policies. The presenters also present practical tips and considerations for Title IX coordinators and investigators when conducting school district Title IX investigations.
• Alana M. Leffler and Emily R. Turzinski (Buelow Vetter Buikema Olson & Vliet, LLC)
Understanding the Teacher Nonrenewal Process
This presentation will review the basics of teacher nonrenewal, including statutory 118.22 requirements, due process constitutional protections, employment discrimination laws, individual contracts, employee handbooks and policies, public records and open meeting law considerations and more.
• Scott Mikesh (WASB)
1:50 p.m. Break
Panel Discussion: Hot Topics and Your Burning Questions in School Law
Close the day with a moderated panel discussion that will attempt to provide insight and perspective on the legal fires that school leaders are facing in early 2024 — whether they arise from some unexpected flashpoint or from long-term legal issues that schools are trying to contain and manage. Possible topics include the care and keeping of security-related recordings, tamping down friction points in school district interactions with DPI, and responding to social media conflagrations. Attendees are encouraged to bring burning questions for the panel.
• Panelists: Melissa Thiel Collar (Green Bay Area Public School District), Geoffrey Lacy (Renning, Lewis & Lacy, S.C.) and Dan Mallin (WASB)
• Moderator: Brian P. Goodman (Boardman & Clark LLP)
3 p.m. Adjourn