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
Sacramento, San Luis Obispo colsonmurphy@lozanosmith.com
Sacramento, San Diego dmaruccia@lozanosmith.com
Walnut Creek, Sacramento, San Diego krezendes@lozanosmith.com
Kyle A. Raney Senior Counsel
Sacramento, Los Angeles mgutierrez@lozanosmith.com
Fresno, San Luis Obispo msmith@lozanosmith.com

New Appellate Court Case Holds College Not Required to Hold Live Evidentiary Hearing before Issuing Written Reprimand

By:Sloan Simmons, Lauren Becker -

March 2021Number 5The California Court of Appeal has held that a community college's issuance of a written reprimand to a student found in violation of the college's policy against harassment does not entitle the student to a live evidentiary hearing. (Knight v. S. Orange Cmty. Coll. Dist. (Feb. 10, 2021) Case No. G058644, 2021 WL 486518.) In reaching its decision, the court distinguished a written reprimand from a suspension or expulsion and discussed a string of recent California cases that...

CDPH Guidance for Schools Creates Challenges and New Reopening Criteria

By:Michelle Cannon, Aimee Perry, Joshua Whiteside -

February 2021Number 3On January 14, 2021, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) issued new guidance (the Guidance) for all of California's local educational agencies (LEAs), including county offices of education, school districts, charter schools, and private schools, including nonpublic and nonsectarian schools. The Guidance includes new guidelines affecting how LEAs should proceed with providing in-person instruction for the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year, redefines wha...

Redefining Sex: How the Office of Civil Rights Distinguishes Title VII from Title IX in Relation to Transgender Athletes

By:Stephanie White, Jonathan Berry-Smith -

December 2020Number 86The United States Supreme Court's landmark decision in Bostock v. Clayton County Georgia (2020) 590 U.S. __ [140 S.Ct. 1731] is producing ripple effects in the legal community. In Bostock, the Supreme Court held that the scope of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1965 (Title VII) which, in part, prohibits employment discrimination based on sex, extends its workplace protections to people based on their sexual orientation or transgender status (and presumably their gen...

Public School Districts Cannot be Sued Under California's Unruh Civil Rights Act for Disability Discrimination

By:Sloan Simmons, Erin Frazor -

December 2020Number 83In a case of first impression, the California Court of Appeal for the First Appellate District, recently held that a school district is not a "business establishment" and therefore cannot be liable for disability discrimination under California's Unruh Civil Rights Act, Civil Code section 51 (Unruh Act). (Brennon B. v. Superior Court of Contra Costa County (Nov. 13, 2020, A157026) _ Cal.App.5th _.) The court in Brennon B. concluded the Unruh Act imposes liability only on...

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...