From E-Rate to iPads, education in the digital age involves the integration of technology across all areas of operation. Embedding technology into public education requires legal skills that recognize the interconnectedness of infrastructure, procurement, professional development, labor implications, policy and communications. Yet, in many cases, the technology is moving faster than the law. F3 is committed to assisting clients with the challenges and complexities presented by the digital revolution, providing the legal expertise to help education leaders avoid costly missteps.
Clients rely on our team for guidance in data security and Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) matters, as well as policies and practices for search and seizure, Bring Your Own Device (BYOD), and student photos.
Determining the balance between First Amendment protections and student safety presents significant challenges for school districts. We assist clients as they cope with cyber threats, anonymous speech, and other emerging issues.
Most technology policies have been built around devices, but the wide effect of eMatters is best served by instead building policies around conduct. We guide clients in tailoring model policies to individual district needs.
From social media polices to hiring and evaluating online instruction and instructors to collective bargaining, a variety of issues can stem from the integration of technology in the classrooms. F3’s eMatters legal team provides comprehensive services across all labor areas.
We assist clients in developing acceptable use polices for student-owned technology/mobile devices, and student use of district-owned property. Additionally, we counsel clients regarding the implementation of electronic IEPs and requisite steps to protect student privacy. We work with clients to design policies that help protect student cyber safety including physical, psychological, reputational, and legal safety.
Courts have seen an increase in the filing of lawsuits related to the regulation of employee and student use of technology and social media, including the ability to discipline for such use. F3 is experienced in facilitating forensic information technology (IT) investigations related to litigation matters. Our experienced litigators can assist F3 clients in developing policies that best reflect the evolving law in this area, as well as provide a vigorous defense if a civil action is filed.
The laborious process of building a construction plan to accommodate E-rate schedules requires precise planning and meticulous preparation of all contracts and documents. Our attorneys are experts in this area. We advise clients on public bidding exceptions for the purchase of technology and draft requests for proposals (RFPs), and evaluate vendor responses. We are skilled at negotiating contracts for services, maintenance and financing of software programs, telecommunications equipment and all aspects of school technology. The drafting of well-defined agreements helps avoid disputes and makes any disputes that do emerge much easier and cost-effective to resolve. We also provide guidance to clients in securing funding for the purchase of new technology, including the formation of educational foundations, direction on parcel taxes, reviewing grant applications, as well as drafting and negotiating contracts for technology pilot programs.
Gretchen M. Shipley, Chair