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 Impact Team

Title IX has taken center stage on a number of fronts. Long before the national attention, Lozano Smith’s Title IX Impact Team was formed as a specialized group dedicated to the pressing issues faced by school districts. From athletics to sexual violence, this team advises, trains, and educates clients on the various components of Title IX – from prevention and mitigation to investigation and response. The Title IX Impact Team draws from multiple practice groups and focuses to streamline advice and counsel. Areas in which the group provides advice and training include:

  • Audit of athletic programs
  • Audit of grievance procedures and policies
  • Discipline of employees and students
  • Sexual misconduct and harassment
  • Student and employee protections
  • Investigations
  • Title IX Coordinator roles and responsibilities
  • District and employee liability
  • Interaction with law enforcement agencies
  • Litigation

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
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
Walnut Creek, Los Angeles sgarcia@lozanosmith.com
Stephanie M. White Senior Counsel
Walnut Creek swhite@lozanosmith.com

Major Changes Announced for Spring 2020 AP, SAT, and ACT Exams

By:Ruth Mendyk, Tina Mirzazadeh -

April 2020Number 22The administering of high school advanced placement (AP) exams, as well as the SAT and ACT college admission exams, has been altered for Spring 2020 in response to COVID-19.Advanced Placement ExamsIn light of the recent disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the College Board, the organization that administers the AP program and the SAT, is offering free online AP review classes as of March 25, 2020. AP students will also be able to take their AP exams online from any...

California Department of Education Provides Grading and Graduation Guidance for Local Educational Agencies During School Closures

By:Edward Sklar, Sophia Cohn -

April 2020Number 21Last week, the California Department of Education (CDE) released its highly-anticipated guidance to school districts, county offices of education and charter schools (collectively, LEAs) regarding course grading and graduation requirements as LEAs proceed with delivery of their educational programs through distance learning during the COVID-19 crisis.The CDE guidance can be found here https://www.cde.ca.gov./ls/he/hn/gradegraduationfaq.asp. CDE's primary goal in providing t...

Framework for Labor-Management Collaboration Jointly Issued by Governor and Statewide Organizations

By:Michelle Cannon, Courtney de Groof -

April 2020Number 20On April 1, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom announced that California labor and management organizations have jointly agreed to a framework for collaboration during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) emergency. The announcement comes at a time when local education agencies (LEAs) and bargaining units across California are working together to resolve issues related to the evolving developments and growing uncertainties related to COVID-19. The framework is intended to assist LEAs ...

Governor Newsom Signs Two Bills Aimed to Assist Local Educational Agencies During COVID-19 Crisis

By:Aimee Perry, Angela Okamura -

March 2020Number 19On March 17, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom signed two bills, Senate Bill (SB) 117 and SB 89, into law which provide for emergency funding to help fight the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and help to clarify the law as it relates to school districts. The bills address several issues confronting school districts, county offices of education, and charter schools. SB 117 provides necessary funding, ensuring that local educational agencies (LEAs) may continue to operate, an...

Special Considerations for Students with Exceptional Needs Related to School Closures Due to COVID-19

By:Marcy Gutierrez, Alyssa Bivins, Kelly Dunagan, Erin Frazor, Tilman Heyer -

March 2020Number 16Frequently Asked Questions - Part 2BackgroundThe following updates and expands on the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) we issued on March 12, 2020 (available here), which provided general guidance for K-12 school districts in responding to the needs of students with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since that date, additional statutory and federal and state guidance has been issued, listed below. The information in this document is current through March 24, 2020, ...

Student Attendance Issues in Response to COVID-19

By:Thomas Manniello, Benjamin Brown -

March 2020Number 15The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a novel respiratory disease that has affected communities worldwide. Cases of COVID-19 have recently appeared in several California communities, prompting a significant number of school closures around the state. In the coming weeks, as schools begin to re-open, they may encounter issues regarding student attendance and exclusions. This news brief provides K-12 districts with general guidance relating to these issues.Excluding Stud...

California Supreme Court Sides Against School Districts in State Mandates Case

By:Sloan Simmons, Nicholas Clair -

February 2020Number 11In California School Boards Association v. State of California (CSBA), the California Supreme Court has allowed the Legislature to avoid appropriating new funding to cover the costs of state mandated programs. Instead, the Legislature is now able to point to existing, unrestricted state funding to satisfy the Constitutional requirement that it identify funding for such programs. In light of the court's holding the Legislature may be incentivized to create new state manda...