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Education Law

California public schools owe a duty to students and parents to follow the California Education Code and various Federal and state statutes designed to ensure that schools operate free of discrimination based on race, gender, religion, disability and other protected characteristics.

Parents and students are often unaware of their rights to file complaints with the School Board to initiate an investigation into potential violations of their rights. A local district’s investigation and decision, if unfavorable, can be appealed to the California Department of Education.

The Torts Claims Act requires students and parents to file tort claims with public school districts within a very short time period after suffering an injury. 

Attorneys at MARTIN & VANEGAS, APC assist parents and students in recognizing which of their legal claims are subject to the Torts Claims Act, in filing tort claims forms, and moving cases beyond initial rejections by School Boards.

The California Safe Schools Act imposes a responsibility on public schools to prevent violence and harassment against lesbian and gay students based on their sexual orientation. The common law tort of negligence also imposes a duty of care on schools to provide a safe environment for students. A breach of this duty can lead to liability on the part of schools that do not take steps to address and prevent bullying, sex crimes, or other injuries to students.

Attorneys at MARTIN & VANEGAS, APC represent students who are victims of school bullying or violence.

Disabled students receive protection from the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act ( IDEA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act.  

Attorneys at MARTIN & VANEGAS, APC assist parents and students in negotiating IEP and Section 504 plans with school districts, and in holding school districts responsible for failure to provide a free and appropriate public education to special education students.

Federal and State laws regulate students’ privacy and the release of their school records. The California Education Code also provides procedural rights to students faced with suspensions and expulsions. Students faced with expulsion have the right to review and respond to evidence the school district plans to use in the expulsion hearing.

Attorneys at MARTIN & VANEGAS, APC represent students in expulsion hearings and appeals. Our attorneys work with college and university students in academic grievance procedures and disciplinary student judicial affairs hearings.