At Franczek, we understand the importance of timely, thoughtful, and accurate advice in the myriad of issues surrounding students. We provide a thorough, complete, and practical understanding of a district’s needs and responsibilities when dealing with student concerns and legal issues. Whether facing a special education challenge, a student discipline matter, or wading through the proliferation of state and federal statutes, ordinances, and regulations governing the education community, we are a partner and trusted advisor in developing sound, cost-effective solutions for what can be significant challenges.
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) provides disabled students and their parents with a myriad of rights and accommodations. The administrative and financial responsibilities of public school districts in providing a free appropriate public education to all disabled students are great. To add to this responsibility, requirements continually develop and change as parents and special education advocates challenge what IDEA mandates mean in terms of educating autistic students, providing transition services, and identifying eligible students. From providing counsel and guidance during the development of an individualized education plan (IEP) to representing school district clients in due process hearings and appeals in federal court, Franczek special education attorneys have the legal know-how and practical experience to provide counsel in all aspects of special education law. Franczek special education attorneys have worked on many of the most complex, highly charged, and emotional cases in Illinois. We bring this valuable experience and insight to every IEP meeting, due process hearing, and appeal, working closely with districts to anticipate issues and resolve problems.
Student Assignment & Admissions
Recent decisions from the U.S. Supreme Court have redefined how school districts may address student assignment and admission issues. Franczek attorneys have extensive experience in providing counsel on issues that may arise when educational institutions are faced with critical decisions regarding diversity and school boundary changes. We have defended complex litigation involving claims of racial and ethnic discrimination against minority students. These sensitive issues include the sites of new schools, redrawing existing attendance areas, transportation burdens, location of programs, school capacity, mobile classrooms, and condition of facilities, as well as assignment of students to enhance diversity, magnet programs, access to gifted and talented programs, proportionate representation in discipline and special education programs, and admission to special programs. Our firm has advised numerous school districts on the ever-evolving case law in this area and the impact of the myriad of state and federal requirements affecting these student populations.
With school safety an ever-present concern, Franczek understands the critical importance of timely and thoughtful advice in the area of student discipline. Whether confronted with misconduct involving cyberbullying, substance abuse, hazing, sexual harassment, or gang activity, our attorneys have extensive experience dealing with all aspects of the discipline process, from providing counsel during disciplinary review hearings and appeals, to responding to concerns from parents and the community. Drawing on vast experience gained through representation of school districts throughout Illinois, our attorneys draft disciplinary policies which reflect both the law and the educational mission of each district, representing the school’s interests in disciplinary hearings, and working with administrators to maintain a safe and effective learning environment for students.
Student Records & Confidentiality
When questions regarding the maintenance of school student records and student confidentiality rights arise, school district administrators rely upon the guidance of our attorneys. From counseling districts on the requirements of the Illinois School Student Records Act and the Family Education Rights & Privacy Act to developing practices that maintain student confidentiality, our attorneys are dedicated to helping school districts respect the rights of parents and students, with the judgment and experience necessary to guide administrators when an imminent threat or danger makes disclosure necessary.
Student Rights & Responsibilities
Over 30 years ago, the Supreme Court ruled that students did not shed their constitutional rights “at the schoolhouse gate.” Since that landmark decision, a myriad of cases have been decided regarding student rights to free speech, freedom of religion, and privacy. From the rights of the student press to the rights of individual students to express their views through speech and other forms of expression, our attorneys have the knowledge and experience necessary to guide and counsel school administrators in policy and practice. Whether counseling a client on how to provide for the rights of fasting Muslim students or how to lawfully search a student’s person and belongings, our attorneys provide practical advice that is always in-step with the ever-changing needs of a district’s individual school community.