Educational Equity Law

Hughes Socol Piers Resnick & Dym, Ltd. has significant experience in counseling and representing a variety of types of schools (traditional schools, charter schools, private schools, colleges, and universities) as well as students, parents, and educators with issues relating to those schools. We work with schools, students, families, teachers, unions, and non-profit organizations to develop quality school programs, free of discrimination, that meet the needs of all students.

Learn more about our educational equity law practice

We can assist with issues that arise under a variety of federal laws, including Title VI of the Civil Rights Act regarding race and national origin discrimination; Title XI regarding sex discrimination and harassment; Department of Education Office of Civil Rights regulations and investigations, Title III and English Language Learner issues, McKinney-Vento Education of Homeless Children and Youth Assistance Act, Individuals with Disabilities Education Act; Americans with Disabilities Act; Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act; and constitutional issues. We can also assist with issues arising under Illinois or other state laws, including the Illinois Civil Rights Act; Illinois requirements around bullying, school discipline, gifted education, special education, and anti-discrimination; Illinois Charter School Act; and the Illinois Human Rights Act.

By way of example, we represent students in the following matters:
● Address discrimination on the basis of race, sex, disability, sexual orientation, and gender identity
● Represent students in special education matters
● Represent students in due process hearings and disciplinary proceedings
● Represent students in IEP meetings; on ADA, IDEA, and Section 504 issues; and on navigating special education services
● Represent transgender and gender expansive students
● Litigate class actions challenging discriminatory educational policies and systems

We represent schools school districts, charter schools, and institutions of higher education in the following types of matters:
● Develop model policies, best practices, and employee handbooks
● Review policies and programs for compliance
● Assist with implementation of policies and systems
● Provide training for staff or District leadership
● Represent school in investigations by the Department of Education Office of Civil Rights or litigation
● Conduct internal investigations and audits
● Assist with labor negotiations and contract issues
● Handle employment issues
● Represent school in special education matters

We represent employees in the labor issues, contract negotiations, and employment issues.

Representative Matters

People Who Care v. Rockford Board of Education. Trial and liability determination of a class action school desegregation case. The court’s ruling included the most detailed findings in the history of school desegregation litigation. The remedial order entered following the determination of liability provided for the effective integration of African American and Latino students in the second largest public school district in Illinois, as well as tens of millions of dollars of new school construction in minority neighborhoods.

Represented the nation’s second largest teacher’s union local in all union legal matters.

Represented district superintendents and other school administrators in contract negotiations and litigation.

Represented in litigation several predominately African-American school districts challenging the decision made by eleven predominately white high school districts to secede from and form a new, predominantly white high school interscholastic conference. The separation of the conferences would have effectively ended regular season competition between majority-white and majority-African-American high schools in this area. This case, one of the first to use the “effects test” provisions of the Illinois Civil Rights Act of 2003, settled on terms that assured integrated conferences and continued regular season competition and meetings between majority-white and majority-African-American high schools.

Represented a school district during a two-year investigation by the Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights of allegations of national origin discrimination in transitional bilingual education programs, which resulted in a finding of no discrimination and dismissal of the charges.

Provided legal counseling and analysis of an Illinois school district’s gifted and other special education programs for compliance with Title VI.

Provided counseling to employees on a range of employment issues, including harassment and terminations.