We find solutions for families, teachers, and administrators with IEPs and Section 504 Plans, student and faculty disciplinary matters, licensing investigations, home schooling issues, and civil rights violations. We also represent school boards, charter schools, and independent schools. Contact Vogel Law Firm to level the playing field with your child’s school district or to ensure legal compliance for your school board, charter school, or independent school.
Eligibility to participate in extracurricular activities, including athletics, is a matter of both state law and the local board of education. We have represented families when school districts have either interpreted their policies incorrectly or when the family needed to obtain a hardship waiver from the state’s governing body for school athletics.
Bullying and Harassing Behavior
State laws require public school districts to have anti-bullying and harassment policies that require schools to immediately investigate complaints of bullying and harassment and to report their findings to the victim’s family with proposed corrective actions. We have represented families in connection with the filing of anti-bullying and harassment complaints and the investigations into the complaints.
Civil Rights and Discrimination
The Office for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education (OCR) enforces several federal civil rights laws that prohibit discrimination in programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance from the Department of Education. Discrimination on the basis of race, color, and national origin is prohibited by Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; sex discrimination is prohibited by Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972; discrimination on the basis of disability is prohibited by Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (prohibiting disability discrimination by public entities, whether or not they receive federal financial assistance); and age discrimination is prohibited by the Age Discrimination Act of 1975.
Independent schools, which generally do not receive federal financial assistance, are also subject to certain civil-rights laws. Section 1981, which prohibits racial discrimination in “making and enforcing contracts,” prohibits independent schools from discriminating against students based on their race in admissions and other areas of student life.
Families, faculty, and administrators have the option to make complaints to administrative agencies (such as OCR) or to file lawsuits in courts of general jurisdiction. We have represented clients in pursuing allegations of unlawful discrimination with OCR and with state governmental agencies, and we represent clients in litigation.
Public school district principals are granted wide latitude in imposing discipline, but students and faculty are entitled to certain Due Process protections to ensure a fair process. We have represented families whose students were wrongfully accused of misconduct, and we have persuaded high school principals to terminate disciplinary proceedings and/or to remove a suspension from the student’s record. On one occasion, we additionally persuaded a police sergeant to drop the criminal charges that were incorrectly brought by the school resource officer.
State laws provide families the option to establish a home school in order to educate children outside the traditional school setting. We have represented families whose choice to home school their children was challenged in court by the school district and the local welfare services agency.
Individualized Education Programs (IEPs) and Section 504 Plans
Federal law ensures that all children with disabilities have available to them a free appropriate public education. Under the Individuals with Disabilities Improvement Education Act of 2004 (IDEA), a student with a disability is eligible for special education services if the disability adversely affects the student’s education and the student needs special education. Special education services are outlined in an Individualized Education Program (IEP).
Children who do not qualify for special education under IDEA may still qualify for services and accommodations through Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. Section 504 prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities in programs receiving federal funds, such as public schools.
We have represented families against public school districts and have obtained favorable outcomes for students with IEPs and Section 504 Plans. We always advocate for a quick, cost-effective, and positive result for our clients through communication and collaboration with the school district. However, when it becomes necessary, we will become adversarial with the school district by submitting a complaint to the federal or state government or by initiating administrative litigation by filing a due process petition.
Teachers and administrators are licensed by state agencies and may have the need to appear before the licensing board to address a disciplinary action that was taken against them. We have successfully represented teachers and administrators before licensing boards in getting charges dismissed.
School Choice and Educational Freedom
State and local governments have enacted opportunity scholarship programs, disability grant programs, school lottery programs, tax credit programs, and other initiatives to encourage familie