Written by: Eric A. Hoffman, Esq. In a January 9, 2017 opinion, the Georgia Court of Appeals held that an Atlanta Public School teacher was entitled to official immunity in a wrongful death suit filed by a student’s parents. The case, Barnett v. Atlanta Indep. School System, stemmed from an incident that occurred when the teacher left her classroom unattended for a brief period of time to use the restroom. In upholding immunity for the teacher, the Court relied on Georgia precedent that decisions regarding student supervision are discretionary in nature and thus provide for official immunity. On October 14, 2008, teacher Phyllis Caldwell was a teacher for the at Benjamin E. Mays High School in West Atlanta. At about 2:45 p.m., Caldwell left the classroom and asked the teacher of the neighboring classroom to “look out” for and listen for any issues from her class, which she had reportedly…       Read More

Written by: Eric Hoffman, Esq. On Monday October 31, 2016, the Georgia Supreme Court unanimously held that firearms cannot be carried onto public K-12 school property unless the licensed gun owner is picking up or dropping off a student. In GeorgiaCarry.org v. Code Revision Commission, the Court, in an opinion by Chief Justice Hugh Thompson, upheld a Fulton County Judge’s dismissal of a suit filed by GeorgiaCarry to challenge a decision of Georgia’s Code Revision Commission restricting such use. At issue were two bills passed by the Georgia legislature in 2014. Both bills attempted to amend O.C.G.A. § 16-11-127.1 to allow licensed gun owners to carry firearms onto school property. House Bill 826 allowed registered gun owners to carry guns onto school property without limitation, while House Bill 60 limited the time that guns could be carried onto K-12 public school property to drop off and pick up. Governor Nathan…       Read More

Dominating a fair segment of the legal world at the moment, transgender issues extend deeply into the worlds of both the public and private sectors.  Employment discrimination, accommodations, equal treatment in business dealings – the list goes on. Probably no one sector is more affected by the emergence of these modern issues than the world of education.  Here, we see all the issues being addressed by everyone else plus those issues unique to our setting.  The world continues to change. This note briefly advises on recent developments from the Feds and courts in transgender issues in the schools. FROM THE DEPARTMENTS OF EDUCATION AND JUSTICE On May 13, 2016, the United States Departments of Justice and Education issued their joint “Dear Colleague letter” (“DCL”) directed at all educational institutions receiving federal funding.  The agencies’ letter provides that the Title IX prohibitions against sex discrimination in educational programs specifically extends to…       Read More