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
Los Angeles, San Diego acordova@lozanosmith.com
Andrew  Fausto Associate
Los Angeles, Fresno afausto@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
Joshua  Whiteside Senior Counsel
San Luis Obispo jwhiteside@lozanosmith.com
Walnut Creek, Sacramento, San Diego krezendes@lozanosmith.com
Kendra G. Tovey 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

New Excused Absence for Student Participation in Political or Civic Event and Other School Calendar Updates

By:Ruth Mendyk, Robert Lomeli -

March 2023Number 14There have been several recent updates regarding authorized student absences and school calendars.  First, California Senate Bill (SB) 955 adds engagement in a civic or political event as an authorized excused absence for middle school or high school students, effective January 1, 2023.This bill modifies Education Code section 48205 and defines a civic or political event as including, but not limited to:votingpoll workingstrikespublic commentingcandidate speechespoliti...

Legislative Update: New Requirements for COVID-19 Testing Plans and New Rules for Supplemental Vision Services for Students

By:Kyle Raney, Brooke Bolton Tiutan -

March 2023Number 13Two important bills, Senate Bill (SB) 1479 and Assembly Bill (AB) 2329, signed by Governor Newsom in September 2022, require school districts, county offices of education, and charter schools to have a plan for COVID-19 testing in schools and authorize local educational agencies (LEAs) to provide supplemental vision services for students, in addition to those already required by law.SB 1479: COVID-19 Testing Plan Requirements SB 1479 added section 32096 to the Education Cod...

District Court Rules College Policy Prohibiting "Inappropriate or Offensive" Student Postings May Violate Students' Free Speech Rights

By:Trevin Sims, Jaspreet Lochab -

March 2023Number 12The United States District Court for the Eastern District of California issued a preliminary injunction preventing a community college from enforcing a policy that prohibited student posted material that was “inappropriate” or “offensive.” (Flores v. Bennett (E.D. Cal., October 14, 2022, No. 1:22-cv-01003) __ F.3d __.)BackgroundIn November 2021, Alejandro Flores, a student at Clovis Community College (College) and founder of the local chapter of the ...

Ninth Circuit Upholds Student Discipline for Social Media Posts

By:Sloan Simmons, Joshua Whiteside, Michele Ellson -

March 2023Number 10In Chen v. Albany Unified School District (9th Cir. 2022) 56 F.4th 708, a panel of Ninth Circuit judges agreed with a lower court ruling that the school district’s decision to discipline students who created and commented on racist social media posts attacking classmates and school staff did not violate those students’ free speech rights when those off-campus posts circulated among other students at the school, disrupting classes and causing academic issues and ...

Ninth Circuit Holds Four-Month Delay in Autism Assessment Plan was not a Violation of IDEA

By:Jennifer Baldassari, Josh Walden -

March 2023Number 11In its recent opinion in D.O. v. Escondido Union School District (9th Cir. Jan. 31, 2023, No. 21-55498), the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a federal district court and determined a four-month delay in proposing to assess a student for autism was neither a procedural nor substantive violation of the federal Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).BackgroundThis case contained an extensive factual and procedural history about a student “experiencing...

Senate Bill 997 Gives Students a Voice in the LCAP Process

By:Daniel McElhinney, Haley Fagan -

February 2023Number 9Senate Bill (SB) 997 requires that, by July 1, 2024, all school districts and county offices of education serving students in middle or high school include students in the local control and accountability plan (LCAP) update process.BackgroundThe Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) refers broadly to the methods that primarily determine the level of funding California school districts receive from the State.  As a component of the LCFF system, local educational agenci...

Updates to Homeless Youth Practices and Policies

By:Kyle Raney -

January 2023Number 4The homeless youth crisis in the United States is not abating, and the pandemic has only worsened the effects of homelessness on this vulnerable student demographic.  On March 11, 2021, President Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARP) into law.  In recognition of the extraordinary impacts of the pandemic on youth experiencing homelessness, the ARP includes an unprecedented $800 million to support the specific needs of homeless youth via the ARP H...