With August well upon us, we are nearing that time when, as Robert McCloskey wrote, we must "reset the clock from the rise and fall of the tide to the come and go of the school bus.... A little bit sad about the place you are leaving, a little bit glad about the place you are going."
We feel it too, here at Drummond Woodsum. And as we move toward September, we are wishing you all a very productive new school year, and one with little need to call your school lawyer!
To help you toward that end, we are attaching here a copy of a summary of all the new laws passed by the New Hampshire Legislature this spring. This work was compiled primarily by Erin Feltes, but with considerable help as always by Jerry Zelin. Together, they have prepared what is really the definitive overview of the changes that have the most impact on New Hampshire schools coming out of this most recent legislative session.
We encourage you to review this summary carefully, and if you have any questions at all, please give Erin or Jerry a call. For that matter, feel free to give any of us a call here at Drummond Woodsum. We want to make this as easy a school year as possible for all of you.
Here are just a few highlights from the attached material!
Chapter Law 136 - Implements a 14 day timeframe for schools to respond to FERPA records requests. Schools will need to revise their policies. Chapter Law 125 - Changes the process for approving school reassignments under the best interest of the student standard to require school board approval. Schools will need to change their school reassignment policies. Chapter Law 161 - Puts forth state requirements on the administration of non-academic surveys or questionnaires to students. These are not entirely consistent with the federal Protection of Pupil Rights Law (formerly Hatch Amendments). The law requires schools to develop a policy under state law - schools will need to revise their policies on this issue. Chapter Law 270 - Prohibits schools from requiring a student to provide a social media username, passwords, etc. and from requiring the student to access a social media account in a school employee's presence. Chapter Law 128 - sets forth online privacy protections that must be as followed by operators of an "Internet website, online service, online application or mobile application with actual knowledge that the site, service, or application is used primarily for K-12 school purposes and designed and marketed for K-12 school purposes." Schools should review all contracts they have with service providers to ensure that they comply with the protections set forth in the new law.