Lozano Smith's Student Practice Group is recognized statewide for its steadfast, proactive and creative assistance to school districts and expertise on a broad range of student issues, due to the large number of school districts that we represent and the fact that we have represented schools for more than 30 years.

Areas of Practice

To best serve the needs and promote the success of its clients, the firm's Student Practice Group has broad expertise in:

• Student Free Speech Rights
• Student Publications
• Dress Codes
• Religion in Schools
• Search & Seizure
• Constitutional Due Process
• The Equal Access Act
• Jurisdiction for Discipline
• Suspension & Expulsion
• Expulsion Hearings
• Rehabilitation Plans
• Alternative Discipline
• Expulsion Appeals
• Involuntary Transfers
• Continuation Schools
• Student Fees & Charges
• Student Records
• Directory Information
• Access to Records
• Grade Changes
• Custody & Education Rights
• Caregiver Affidavits
• Retention of Records
• Public Records Act
• Law Enforcement at School
• Gang-Related Activity
• Child Abuse Reporting
• Megan's Law
• Media Access to Campus
• Community Day Schools
• Compulsory Education
• Student Residency
• Residency Verification
• Student Truancy & SARB
• All Student Transfers
• Open Enrollment
• Extracurricular Activities
• Student Athletics
• Athletic Eligibility
• Student Drug Testing
• Title IX, Title XI, Section 504
• Harassment & Discrimination
• Cyberbullying
• Graduation Requirements
• Promotion & Retention

Title IX

Lozano Smith’s Title IX Practice Area is comprised of specialists dedicated to the pressing issues faced clients. From athletics to sexual violence, this team advises, trains, and educates clients on the various components of Title IX – from prevention and mitigation to investigations resulting in disciplinary action. Areas in which the group provides advice and training include:

  • Athletics, including audits of athletic programs
  • Sex-based discrimination
  • Pregnant and parenting students
  • Single-sex education
  • Issues relating to transgender and students
  • Developing and auditing complaint grievance procedures and policies
  • Responding to reports of sexual misconduct and harassment
  • Investigating complaints of sexual misconduct and harassment
  • Title IX Coordinator roles and responsibilities
  • District and employee liability
  • Reporting obligations
  • Interaction with law enforcement agencies
  • Discipline of students
  • Litigation
  • VAWA/Clery Act
  • Trainings
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Real World Applications

The Student Practice Group at Lozano Smith understands the hurdles and opportunities facing its clients, and has an unsurpassed level of experience and expertise to protect the interests and promote the success of school districts, their staff and students. Of particular significance is the firm's leadership in student discipline matters. Lozano Smith regularly helps districts to develop comprehensive policies and regulations aimed at preventing student discipline problems, as well as all other policy issues impacting student rights, including student speech, student clubs, student transfers, and student fees, to name only a few. When discipline problems do surface, the firm provides practical advice and assistance as to all aspects of suspensions, expulsions, involuntary transfers and alternative forms of discipline.

Alyssa R. Bivins Associate
Sacramento, Fresno abivins@lozanosmith.com
Carolyn L. Gemma Senior Counsel
Chelsea  Olson Murphy Senior Counsel
Sacramento, San Luis Obispo colsonmurphy@lozanosmith.com
Sacramento, San Diego dmaruccia@lozanosmith.com
Desiree  Serrano Senior Counsel
Erin M. Hamor Senior Counsel
Walnut Creek, Sacramento, San Diego krezendes@lozanosmith.com
Kyle A. Raney Senior Counsel
Sacramento, Los Angeles mgutierrez@lozanosmith.com
Fresno, Bakersfield msmith@lozanosmith.com

New Amendments to Title 5 Regulations Impact How Community Colleges Must Process Unlawful Discrimination Complaints, Including Student Complaints of Sexual Misconduct

By:Trevin Sims, Stephanie White, Erin Frazor -

November 4, 2020Number 80On September 18, 2020, amendments to title 5 of the California Code of Regulations (Title 5), which were previously adopted by the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges, took effect. The changes impact the procedures community colleges must follow when addressing employee and student complaints of unlawful discrimination, including complaints under Title IX of the Educational Amendments Act of 1972 (Title IX). The stated purpose for the changes is to...

California Adopts Extensive New Requirements on Postsecondary Institutions to Address Sexual Harassment of Students

By:Trevin Sims, Sarah Fama -

November 4, 2020Number 81On September 29, 2020, Governor Newsom signed Senate Bill (SB) 493, requiring postsecondary institutions to take certain actions and implement certain procedures related to sexual harassment prevention and handling complaints of sexual harassment. The new law requires compliance no later than January 1, 2022.Key Elements of SB 493Definitions. SB 493 modifies or adds definitions for important terms. Most notably, the bill (1) expands the definition of “sexual har...

Governor Signs Two Bills Affecting High School Students, Vetoes a Third

By:Sarah Garcia, Deniss Escorcia Dimas -

October 22, 2020Number 78Three new pieces of legislation addressing rights and graduation requirements of high school students in California were recently proposed. Two were signed by the Governor and their impacts are summarized here. Assembly Bill (AB) 1350 addresses the retroactive granting of diplomas to students affected by COVID-19, AB 908 address eligibility for athletics and work permits for students negatively affected by COVID-19 and other emergencies, and AB 331, if passed, would h...

Bullying Victims Granted Expanded Transfer Rights

By:Ruth Mendyk, Crystal Pizano -

October 20, 2020Number 74Assembly Bill (AB) 1127 amended Education Code section 46600 to now require California school districts to approve intradistrict and interdistrict transfer requests by victims of an act of bullying. Previously, Education Code section 46600 simply gave priority for an interdistrict transfer request from a student who was the victim of bullying. These new requirements became effective January 1, 2020, but are now more relevant as students begin to return to campus.Intra...

New Regulations Regarding Uniform Complaint Procedures Took Effect July 1, 2020

By:Marisa Lincoln, Carolyn Gemma, Sarah Fama -

October 20, 2020Number 77On July 1, 2020, new regulations went into effect regarding Uniform Complaint Procedures (UCP) found at Title 5 of the California Code of Regulations, sections 4600 through 4670[1] (Regulations). With changes to nearly every section of the Regulations, there is much information for Local Education Agencies (LEA) to digest and implement. This Client News Brief provides an overview of the changes.Scope of AllegationsUnder the new Regulations, complaints regarding specia...

The Effect of SB 820 on the Recording of Distance Learning

By:Gabriela Flowers, Sabrina Buendia -

October 2020Number 70As school districts and county offices of education across California prepared to open their schools in a virtual distance learning format, electronic recording of remote instruction sessions became a topic of interest in labor negotiations. Existing law on the issue did not contemplate distance learning and the needs of students using a remote platform.On August 22, 2020, the Legislature released the August budget trailer bills, which made a number of major changes conce...

Supreme Court Disallows Exclusion of Religious Schools from State Scholarship Program

By:Devon Lincoln, Bradley Sena -

August 2020Number 63On June 30, 2020, the United States Supreme Court held that Montana's exclusion of religious schools from a state scholarship program discriminated against religious schools and the families whose children attend or hope to attend them, and violated the Free Exercise Clause of the United States Constitution. (Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue (2020) 591 U.S. __ (Espinoza.) In doing so, the Supreme Court builds on its 2017 decision in Trinity Lutheran Church of Colu...