Anahid Hoonanian is Senior Counsel in Lozano Smith's Los Angeles office. Her practice is focused on special education and student matters, as well as the labor & employment aspects of education law. Before joining Lozano Smith, Ms. Hoonanian represented public and private school clients in special education and student matters, including informal meetings, mediation, settlement conferences, local and federal administrative complaints, administrative hearings and litigation.
Ms. Hoonanian has also served as an administrative law judge for the Office of Administrative Hearings where she specialized in conducting special education administrative hearings by taking witness testimony, admitting evidence, creating a complete administrative hearing record, issuing final decisions, conducting prehearing conferences, mediation, and settlement conferences. Her experience also includes providing legal services to advance the service rights, legal rights, and human rights of persons with developmental disabilities in areas such as special education, discrimination, and public benefits. She also has experience in certificated and classified discipline and has conducted independent investigations of employee complaints. Ms. Hoonanian serves as part time faculty at California State University, Los Angeles, where she teaches special education law and policy graduate courses at the Charter College of Education.
Ms. Hoonanian has presented at LRP’s National Institute on Legal Issues of Educating Individuals with Disabilities and ACSA’s Special Education Symposium on topics such as Independent Educational Evaluations (IEEs), outcomes in appeals of special education hearing decisions in California, and special considerations related to students with disabilities and bullying. Additionally, Ms. Hoonanian frequently provides trainings for school districts on a wide variety of topics including the individualized education process, bullying prevention and intervention, and compliance with Section 504 requirements.
Ms. Hoonanian received her Juris Doctor from Pepperdine University School of Law in Malibu, CA. She also earned a certificate in alternate dispute resolution, which included a position as a research assistant for the Institute for Dispute Resolution. She received her undergraduate degree, a Bachelor of Arts in History, from University of California, Los Angeles.
In July 2015, the Court in Morgan Hill Concerned Parents Ass'n v. Cal. Dep't of Educ. (E.D. Cal. January 26, 2016) Case No. 2:11-cv-3471, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 8952, issued an order that would require the California Department of Education (CDE) to release student data in its possession of as many as 10 million current and past public school students. This data would include sensitive information such as social security numbers. The Court also opened the door to objec...
The California Department of Education ("CDE") recently sent an alert to school districts, charter schools and special education local plan areas ("SELPA") describing a pending court action and requesting that certain information be posted on their websites. The court action involves student records and the posting is intended to notify families of relevant Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act ("FERPA") provisions. In addition to posting the specific information and link r...
The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals recently ruled that a school district's failure to provide educational testing data to parents violated the procedural requirements of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). Additionally, this failure deprived parents of the opportunity to meaningfully participate in the formation of their child's individualized education program (IEP).
The IDEA requires school districts to provide every qualified student...
On January 31, 2014, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Civil Rights Division, issued guidance entitled "Effective Communication" regarding the American with Disabilities Act's (ADA) requirements for effective communication with people who have communication disabilities (i.e., vision, hearing, or speech impairments), including requirements that went into effect on March 15, 2011. The Effective Communication guidance is available here.
Under the ADA, public enti...
On July 1, 2013, Governor Brown signed school funding legislation, which included education omnibus trailer bill Assembly Bill (AB) 86. As part of the 2013-2014 budget for the state's public schools, AB 86 modifies the Behavioral Intervention Plan mandate, commonly known as the "Hughes Bill," to align it more closely with federal law and reduce costs, while maintaining important protections for students with disabilities. As an urgency bill, the provisions of AB 86 too...