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 Senior Counsel
Sacramento, Fresno abivins@lozanosmith.com
Carolyn L. Gemma Senior Counsel
Sacramento, San Luis Obispo colsonmurphy@lozanosmith.com
Sacramento, San Diego dmaruccia@lozanosmith.com
Joshua  Whiteside Senior Counsel
San Luis Obispo jwhiteside@lozanosmith.com
Walnut Creek, Sacramento, San Diego krezendes@lozanosmith.com
Kyle A. Raney Senior Counsel
Sacramento, Fresno, San Luis Obispo msmith@lozanosmith.com
Ryan P. Tung Partner
Los Angeles, Walnut Creek rtung@lozanosmith.com

Legislature Allocates $100 Million from General Fund for Prevention and Alternative Dispute Resolution of COVID-19 Related Special Education Disputes

By:Roxana Khan, Linnea Schuster -

August 2021Number 23On July 9, 2021, Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law Assembly Bill 130, known as the 2021–2022 Education Omnibus Budget Trailer Bill (AB 130). Among other things, AB 130 makes a one-time appropriation of $100 million from the General Fund to support school districts, county offices of education, and charter schools (LEAs) in preventing and resolving special education disputes related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Special education local plan areas (SELPAs) are to ...

Appellate Court Ruling Sheds Light on the Government Claims Act, Sexual Abuse Cover Up and Related Damages

By:Sloan Simmons, Everett McLean II -

August 2021Number 21In its recent decision in Los Angeles Unified School District v. Superior Ct., Los Angeles County (2021) 64 Cal.App.5th 549, the California Court of Appeal held that a school district is immune from an award of treble damages in a tort action for childhood sexual assault where the assault occurred as the result of a cover up. In reaching its decision, the court distinguishes between primarily punitive damages, for which a public entity maintains immunity, from normal tort...

School District Properly Placed Coach on Leave After He Refused to Cease Public Prayers Following Football Games

By:Sloan Simmons, Alyssa Bivins -

August 2021Number 20In Kennedy v. Bremerton School District (9th Cir. 2021) 991 F.3d 1004, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals (Ninth Circuit) upheld the Bremerton School District’s (District) placement of high school football coach Joseph Kennedy (Kennedy) on paid administrative leave when Kennedy refused to stop conducting public prayers and religious motivational speeches at the 50-yard line with students following football games. The Ninth Circuit reasoned that the District appropria...

Supreme Court Sets Aside Student's Cheer Team Suspension, but Confirms Schools' Authority to Regulate Off-Campus Expression

By:Sloan Simmons, Andrew Blan -

July 2021Number 16In its first student free speech case since 2007, Mahanoy Area School District v. B.L, the United States Supreme Court ruled in favor of a student whose off-campus and off-color social media (Snapchat) posts resulted in her suspension from the school’s junior varsity cheerleading team. The Supreme Court confirmed, however, that schools may still regulate student expression occurring off-campus on a case-by-case basis under the Tinker standard, albeit to a lesser degree...

"On the Basis of Sex" Interpreted: Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Protected Under Title IX

By:Stephanie White, Jonathan Berry-Smith -

July 2021Number 15On June 16, 2021, the United States Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR) issued a Notice of Interpretation [1] explaining that discrimination “on the basis of sex” under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (Title IX) encompasses both sexual orientation and gender identity. This interpretation clarifies how OCR will enforce Title IX moving forward, in light of the Supreme Court’s decision in Bostock v. Clayton County Georgia...

Significant Changes to Independent Study for the New School Year

By:Carrie Rasmussen, Ruth Mendyk -

July 2021Number 14The 2021-2022 Education Omnibus Budget Trailer Bill (Trailer Bill) includes significant short-term and long-term changes to independent study. (See Ed. Code, § 51745, et seq.) For the 2021-2022 school year only, school districts and county offices of education (COE) will be required to offer an independent study program to meet the educational needs of pupils. Charter schools are not required to provide independent study, but charter schools that do offer independent st...

New Laws on Student Retention, Grades and Graduation Create More Pandemic-Related Consequences for Schools

By:Ruth Mendyk, Joshua Whiteside -

July 2021Number 13On July 1, 2021, Governor Newsom signed into law a three-part bill that creates new obligations for local educational agencies (LEAs) related to students served during the pandemic-impacted 2020-2021 school year. Assembly Bill (AB) 104 provides parents of “eligible pupils” a supplemental review process to consider retention at the 2020-2021 grade level. The bill also provides that high school students may request that a letter grade be changed to a Pass or No Pas...