Virginia Education Law Questions & Answers

Q: Can public schools start the day with a "prayer-like" service? They claim to be honoring the US, but it's sketchy.

1 Answer | Asked in Education Law for Virginia on
Answered on Dec 12, 2018
Jay Braddock Jackson's answer
There is really not enough information in your question. In Virginia, school officials may not impose prayers or organize prayer events, Additionally, a school's public meeting space or school auditorium may not be turned into a local church for religious celebrations.

The First Amendment protects the idea of prayer in public schools, but it also prohibits doing so in a way that can make anyone feel excluded. Students absolutely have the right to express their religious beliefs, but the...

Q: Hello! What is considered legal custody in § 22.1-3. Persons to whom public schools shall be free?

1 Answer | Asked in Education Law for Virginia on
Answered on Nov 2, 2018
Jay Braddock Jackson's answer
The Provisional Mandate may not be the real issue. Article IV, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution essentially gives effect in Virginia to judicial decisions of other states. Since the Provisional mandate is not a “judicial decision’ per se, it probably does not fall under this (“Full Faith and Credit”) clause of the Constitution. However, Section 22.1-3 of the Virginia Code gives another avenue in your situation. Here’s what the code says: “§ 22.1-3. Persons to whom public schools...

Q: If I have reason to believe the education standards at my son's school aren't up to par, what do I do?

1 Answer | Asked in Education Law for Virginia on
Answered on Oct 3, 2018
Jay Braddock Jackson's answer
That's a broad question, as "education standards" are generally measured by achievement. Is it a public school or private? Where, in your opinion, does the education fail? I would recommend that you make special note of the reasons that you feel that the school is failing, determine whether the failure is systemic or a single teacher, etc. If it is a public school (in Arlington?), you can contact Pat Murphy, Ed.D., Superintendent of Arlington Public Schools. 1426 N. Quincy Street, Arlington,...

Q: The school wants to handle a fight between my child and another within its system and says we shouldn't involve the

1 Answer | Asked in Education Law for Virginia on
Answered on Aug 24, 2018
Jay Braddock Jackson's answer
If the fight between them occurred off of school grounds, you may do as you wish. Presuming that the fight occurred on school grounds, any rights you have to pursue a recovery should not be reduced. However, your lawsuit against a child is not likely to provide much in the way of a recovery, so your suit is properly brought against the parents of minor. If it was a fight, recovery would be difficult because both participants were fighting. If your child was assaulted, that may provide a cause...

Q: PT told my wife her severe vertigo is related to multiple concussions she received from students at school, which were

1 Answer | Asked in Education Law, Workers' Compensation and Employment Discrimination for Virginia on
Answered on May 16, 2018
Jerry Lutkenhaus' answer
If she has a disability due to a work-related injury, she first needs to have notified her employer of the accident giving rise to this disability within thirty (30) days of the accident. Then, she needs to have filed a claim with the Virginia Workers' Compensation Commission for the accident within two (2) years of the date of the accident. You indicated these were multiple incidents over a period of time. Also, a physical therapist is not a doctor. Usually, a concussion is treated by a...

Q: Can I request a special needs evaluation for my kid at any time during the school year?

1 Answer | Asked in Education Law for Virginia on
Answered on Mar 9, 2018
Lori E. Arons' answer
Absolutely, yes! Be sure to make the request in writing as the timeline within which they must meet with you to discuss the nature and scope of the evaluation starts to run the day they receive your written request. I like to hand deliver these types of letters, and have someone at school sign and date when it was received.

Q: My son is autistic and in the special needs program at his elementary school. Can I have a say in making modifications

1 Answer | Asked in Education Law for Virginia on
Answered on Jul 29, 2017
Kevin Shields' answer
Yes, absolutely. As the parent, you are a member of any group that meets to decide services or placement for your son.

The law is clear regarding parent participation in meetings:

The parents of a child with a disability must be afforded an opportunity to participate in meetings with respect to -

(i) The identification, evaluation, and educational placement of the child; and

(ii) The provision of FAPE to the child. 34 CFR 300.501 (b)

Your son's IEP team...

Q: can my private school ban me from talking to another student outside of school?

2 Answers | Asked in Education Law for Virginia on
Answered on Mar 6, 2017
Glenn B. Manishin's answer
Inside the school officials have very wide discretion even in public school. Where a private school is concerned, moreover, a student's First Amendment rights are more limited, because free speech is a right one has against the government, not private parties. But ban on talking outside of school, in the absence of threats or abuse, seems rather over broad. You should consider talking to the dean/principal to work things out consensually.

Q: Can I sue my child's school for an assault on her by another child while she was on the playground at school?

1 Answer | Asked in Personal Injury and Education Law for Virginia on
Answered on Dec 21, 2016
Peter N. Munsing's answer
Assuming you mean one kid hits another, generally no--unless the other kid was a known bad actor, to the point of it wouldn't be a question of if he'd hit someone but when, then the school has a duty,.

But they can't be everywhere at once.

That being said, if the issue is medical bills they mayhave a part of their policy that covers that.

Q: 1. Can the court mandate a child attend school in the non-custodial parent's district?

1 Answer | Asked in Divorce, Child Custody, Child Support and Education Law for Virginia on
Answered on Jul 12, 2016
Gary D. Godman's answer
Yes, the judge could order that - whether it is likely depends on the facts and circumstances of the case.

If you have not already done so, consider consulting with a local family law attorney to review the specifics of your situation. Good luck.

Q: I want to move in with my boyfriend when I am 18. Can my guardian stop me if I am 18 and still attending school?

1 Answer | Asked in Education Law, Family Law and Juvenile Law for Virginia on
Answered on May 23, 2016
Gary D. Godman's answer
At 18, you are an adult in Virginia. The parents could file a petition for guardianship over you if you are mentally or physically unable to manage your own affairs - however, the mere fact you are moving and they don't like it is not a sufficient basis. If they do attempt this, you will be advised of the hearing and will likely be appointed an attorney. Seems unlikely to happen, but reach out to a family law or guardianship attorney if it happens. Good luck.

Q: If a teacher is suspended in VA, is that information made available to the public right away?

1 Answer | Asked in Education Law and Employment Law for Virginia on
Answered on May 4, 2016
Gary D. Godman's answer
I am not an education attorney, but it appears the Virginia Department of Education maintains a list of licenses that have been cancelled or suspended at this website: The PDF says it was updated as of 4/12/16, so there appears to be about a month's delay in the information being placed on the list. The concerned teacher should consult with local employment law or education law counsel to see if he/she has any redress. Good...

Q: My boyfriend's parent moved to Texas and he lost his in state tuition to ODU. Is there anyway he can get in state tuitio

1 Answer | Asked in Education Law for Virginia on
Answered on Apr 26, 2016
Gary D. Godman's answer
Students are bound by ODU's policy and Virginia law regarding in-state tuition. Here is ODU's webpage on the matter:

If the parents have abandoned their VA domicile, the student may be eligible to continue receiving in-state tuition for one year. The law cited on ODU's webpage is at the following link, and you can read the applicable section by scrolling down to part "B," second paragraph, last sentence:...

Q: contract?

1 Answer | Asked in Consumer Law, Education Law and Contracts for Virginia on
Answered on Apr 21, 2016
Mr. Michael O. Stevens' answer
Under your thinking then, they should just charge you X size plan, full price, as that is what you agreed to. Does that work better or worse for you?

Q: What are the laws about leaving a dog on your porch?

1 Answer | Asked in Animal / Dog Law, Education Law and Environmental for Virginia on
Answered on Oct 4, 2015
Robert Jason De Groot's answer
You have to look up the local ordinances to find out.

Q: A student faces a 1st offense drug use charge and has cooperated with the investigation and goes before the schools

1 Answer | Asked in Education Law for Virginia on
Answered on Sep 9, 2015
Robert Jason De Groot's answer
Is it fair? Well, it is certainly much better than being completely expelled, isn't it?

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