KCL Insights
April 14, 2016
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By Andra J. Hutchins

In this two-part blog series, I look at how different laws and statutes can help Andra Hutchins Bullying Court Cases students and parents address bullying in school. Recent cases in Massachusetts and New York federal courts have addressed bullying in schools, and in both cases, the students overcame legal arguments by their respective school districts.

The Massachusetts case addressed several laws, however, only the Title IX claim - the law that prohibits sex discrimination in school - survived a motion to dismiss by the school and will be allowed to proceed to trial. The New York case involves the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), a federal law applicable in all state special education matters. In that matter, the case proceeded all the way through hearing and appeals, and the district was held accountable. Bullying by classmate is the central theme in both cases; however, as with all bullying incidents, each case is unique. You can read more about  Title IX claims in bullying cases in Part I of this series, which involved a regular education student. Part II of the series involves a special education case.

Special Education Considerations in Bullying Cases
The NY case is about L.K., an elementary school student with learning disabilities on an Individualized Education Plan (IEP). An IEP is developed when a student is found to have an educational disability, and is eligible for special education services. The hallmark of special education is the school district's obligation to provide a free appropriate public education (FAPE), which is tied to the services to be provided by way of the IEP. Because FAPE is a federal, not state law, though this case is out of NY, it has broad jurisdictional implications.


Protecting Americans From Tax Hikes Act of 2015 (PATH Act)

The Federal "Protecting Americans From Tax Hikes Act of 2015" (PATH Act) made permanent a provision of the Internal Revenue Code that allows taxpayers, aged 70 and ½ or older, to direct as much as $100,000 of IRA distributions, each year, to most kinds of "public" charitable organizations - and to have the distribution count towards fulfilling the required minimum distribution requirement for IRAs. It's obviously not for everyone.  But, for the few IRA owners who might be interested in exploring this approach, it offers a few additional benefits.

"Regular" IRAs (not Roth IRAs) must be distributed beginning not later than April 1 of the year after the year in which the owner attains age 70 and ½.   Distributions from an IRA must be not less than certain minimum amounts (called "required minimum distributions").  These are based on IRS tables and depend upon the age of the IRA owner (or the ages of the IRA owner and the designated post-death beneficiary).  (Treasury Reg. sec. 1.401(a)(9)-9).


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