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.

Aimee  Perry 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
Sacramento, Los Angeles mgutierrez@lozanosmith.com
Fresno, Bakersfield msmith@lozanosmith.com
Walnut Creek, San Diego sgarcia@lozanosmith.com
Stephanie M. White Senior Counsel
Walnut Creek swhite@lozanosmith.com

Court Reaffirms Absences To Attend Medical Appointments May Be Evidence Of A Disability

By:Dulcinea Grantham, Janae Castellani -

July 2019Number 34In Ross v. County of Riverside, decided on June 20, 2019, the California Court of Appeal for the Fourth Appellate District reaffirmed that repeated or extended absences from work for the purpose of attending doctor's appointments amount to a limitation on a major life activity, thus physical impairments which cause such repeated or extended absences may meet the definition of a physical disability.Christopher Ross, a County of Riverside employee, brought a lawsuit against hi...

Ninth Circuit Upholds Decision To Expel Student For Creating A “Hit List” And Solidifies Standard For Student Discipline For Off-Campus Expression.

By:Sarah Garcia -

June 2019Number 30Confirming a point which seems to make good sense, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has held that school officials may discipline students for the student's off-campus expression, where the expression constitutes a credible, identifiable threat to others in the school community, even if the student did not intend to communicate such speech to any third party.BackgroundIn McNeil v. Sherwood School District 88J, the personal journal of a sophomore high school student, CLM, w...

New Guidance Answers Questions Regarding FERPA And School Law Enforcement Units

By:Edward Sklar, Alyssa Bivins -

May 2019Number 23The United States Department of Education (Department) issued answers to 37 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) regarding the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). The FAQs focus on how FERPA relates to school law enforcement units and school resource officers (SROs). The full document, issued by the Department on February 12, 2019, is available here.The Department issued the FAQs in response to the Final Report of the Federal Commission on School Safety (Report), ...

2019 Updates: Annual Notice Of Parental Rights And Responsibilities

By:Claudia Weaver -

April 2019Number 21California school districts and county offices of education are required annually, at the beginning of each school year, to provide written notice of parental rights and responsibilities. Lozano Smith continuously tracks legislation impacting these notices. The following summarizes changes in California law that call for mandatory or optional updates to the Annual Notice of Parental Rights and Responsibilities (Annual Notice).Discrimination Based on a Student's Parental, Fa...

California Recognizes “Nonbinary” Gender Category And Requires Certain State Agencies To Collect Sexual Orientation And Gender Identity Data

By:Gabriela Flowers, Courtney de Groof -

April 2019Number 22The California Legislature recently passed legislation, taking effect in 2018 and 2019, making it easier for individuals to change their gender identity on official documents, adding a new gender identity option to certain forms of identification and vital records, and requiring certain state and local agencies to change data collection practices so that gender identity is more accurately accounted for in demographic data.Assembly Bill (AB) 677: Sexual Orientation and Gende...

California Passes New Laws to Protect Student-Athletes AED’s Required by July 1, 2019

By:Thomas Gauthier, Kyle Raney -

February 2019Number 13In the wake of several high profile deaths of high school student-athletes, California recently enacted two new laws aimed at improving school responses to heart and heat-related emergencies involving students.Assembly Bill (AB) 2009 Given that sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) is a leading cause of death among young athletes, AB 2009 requires school districts and charter schools that offer interscholastic athletics to have written, posted emergency action plans in place and t...

Settlement Addresses Discriminatory Treatment of Minority Students and Students with Disabilities

By:Thomas Manniello -

February 2019Number 11A settlement agreement was recently reached between the California Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Stockton Unified School District (District) to address discriminatory treatment of minority students and students with disabilities. The agreement resolves a comprehensive investigation conducted by the DOJ, which found that the District's policies and practices with respect to law enforcement referrals discriminated against African-American and Latino students as well ...