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 35 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
• Electronic Records Systems

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 Senior Counsel
Sacramento, Fresno abivins@lozanosmith.com
Amanda J. Cordova Senior Counsel
Los Angeles, San Diego acordova@lozanosmith.com
Sacramento, San Luis Obispo colsonmurphy@lozanosmith.com
Sacramento, San Diego dmaruccia@lozanosmith.com
Emma J. Sol Associate
Walnut Creek esol@lozanosmith.com
Erin  Frazor Senior Counsel
Josh  Walden Senior Counsel
Joshua  Whiteside Senior Counsel
San Luis Obispo jwhiteside@lozanosmith.com
Walnut Creek, Sacramento, San Diego krezendes@lozanosmith.com
Kendra G. Tovey Senior Counsel
Komey  Vishakan Senior Counsel
Michael E. Smith Of Counsel
Sacramento, Fresno, San Luis Obispo msmith@lozanosmith.com
Ryan P. Tung Partner
Los Angeles, Walnut Creek rtung@lozanosmith.com

U.S. Supreme Court Clarifies the Standard for "True Threats"

By:Desiree Serrano -

August 2023Number 32In Counterman v. Colorado (June 27, 2023, No. 22-138) 600 U.S. __, the United States Supreme Court analyzed the First Amendment’s free speech protections in the context of “true threats.”  While previous case law had established that true threats are not protected speech (and therefore may be restricted), the Supreme Court has now clarified that for a statement to be considered a true threat and thus unprotected speech, the speaker must have had &ldq...

U.S. DOE Releases Updated Federal Guidance Regarding Religious Expression in Public Schools in Light of Kennedy

By:Sloan Simmons, Kendra Tovey -

August 2023Number 28On May 15, 2023, the U.S. Department of Education (U.S. DOE) updated its Guidance on Constitutionally Protected Prayer and Religious Expression in Public Elementary and Secondary Schools (Guidance).  The update is a result of the United States Supreme Court opinion in Kennedy v. Bremerton School District (2022) 142 S.Ct. 2407, which overruled Lemon v. Kurtzman (1971) 403 U.S. 602, and eliminated the “Lemon test,” which was widely applied by school official...

Ninth Circuit Confirms Title IX Protections for Perceived Sexual Orientation

By:Sloan Simmons, Sarah Fama -

August 2023Number 29The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit recently held that Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972 prohibits discrimination on the basis of perceived sexual orientation. BackgroundIn Grabowski v. Arizona Board of Regents (9th Cir. June 13, 2023) Case No. 22-15714, Michael Grabowski alleged that while he was a “first-year student-athlete, his teammates subjected him to frequent ‘sexual and homophobic bullying’ because they perceived h...

Department of Education Releases Proposed Title IX Rule for Transgender Athletes

By:Roxana Khan, Monica Batanero, Emma Sol -

On April 6, 2023, the United States Department of Education (Department) published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking regarding Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, specifically focusing on sex-related eligibility for athletic teams.  This proposed rule would apply to all public school institutions that receive federal funding, including community colleges and public K-12 schools.  Full text of the proposed rule can be found here: https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/ocr/doc...

Ninth Circuit Contemplates Whether an ADA Claim Arising from Alleged Denial of FAPE Requires Exhaustion of Administrative Process

By:Jennifer Baldassari, Bailey Hughes -

May 22, 2023Number 20Back in November of 2021, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, sitting en banc in deciding D.D. v. Los Angeles Unified School District (9th Cir. 2021) 18 F.4th 1043, addressed the issue of whether a plaintiff asserting a claim in federal court under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) must first pursue available administrative remedies under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).  In that opinion, the Ninth Circuit applied the Unite...

Exhaustion of IDEA Administrative Remedies Is Not Required to Pursue Non-IDEA Remedies, Such as Compensatory Damages Under the ADA

By:Mark Waterman -

April 2023Number 19The U.S. Supreme Court, in Perez v. Sturgis Pub. Sch. (2023) ___U.S.___ [143 S.Ct. 859], unanimously ruled that a student who settled an administrative proceeding for relief under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) may thereafter seek relief in federal court under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) because his lawsuit sought compensatory damages—a type of relief that is not available under the IDEA.  This decision creates a substantial ...

2023 Updates: Annual Notice of Parental Rights and Responsibilities

By:Claudia Weaver -

April 2023Number 18As a reminder, school districts and county offices of education should update their parental annual notices (Annual Notices) for the upcoming 2023-2024 school year.  The following is a summary of changes for updating Annual Notices, including four mandatory changes and other optional/advisable changes.Mandatory Annual Notice ChangesFirearm Safety and Safe Storage of Firearms Information (Assembly Bill 452 and Senate Bill 906)Beginning with the 2023-2024 school year, lo...