HSPRD attorneys advise families facing a wide range of educational challenges, including matters related to special education, bilingual and gifted programs, Individualized Educational Programs (IEP), gender or sexual orientation issues, disciplinary proceedings, and racial and ethnic inequities. From classrooms to restrooms to the playing field, our goal at HSPRD is to protect students’ dignity and preserve their right to a quality education in an inclusive environment.
Our attorneys also worked with community groups to fight systemic racial and socioeconomic discrimination in Rockford, Illinois, in the 1990s with a lawsuit that became one of the largest school desegregation cases since Brown vs. Board of Education. HSPRD obtained a court order that effectively integrated African-American and Latino students into Rockford Public Schools. The judge also required the city to dedicate $300 million to new school construction in minority neighborhoods. HSPRD was lead trial counsel in the case, which resulted in some of the most extensive and detailed findings in the history of school desegregation litigation.
HSPRD represented several predominately African-American high school districts near Chicago to challenge a decision made by eleven predominately white school districts to secede from the South Inter-Conference Association (SICA) and form a predominantly white high school interscholastic conference. The split would have effectively ended regular season competition between majority-white and majority-African-American schools in the area. The groundbreaking case, one of the first to use the “effects test” of the Illinois Civil Rights Act of 2003, settled on terms that ensured integrated sports conferences.
Our attorneys counsel clients in education-related issues that arise under a variety of federal, state and constitutional laws, including:
- Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, regarding race and national origin discrimination
- Title IX of the Education Amendments Act of 1972, regarding sex discrimination and harassment
- U.S. Department of Education Office for Civil Rights regulations and investigations
- Title III of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 regarding English language learners
- McKinney–Vento Homeless Assistance Act
- Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
- Section 504 of the 1973 Rehabilitation Act
- Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990
- Illinois Human Rights Act
- Illinois Charter Schools Law
- The United States and Illinois Constitutions
- Illinois requirements around bullying, school discipline, gifted education, special education and anti-discrimination policies
HSPRD has additional expertise representing educational institutions on issues of equity, discrimination and inclusion. Our attorneys have expertise in how school districts, charter schools, colleges and universities on developing and implementing progressive and inclusive policies. We can review programs for compliance, provide training for staff and district leadership, help develop employee handbooks and conduct internal investigations and audits. Our lawyers can also assist with investigations by the U.S. Department of Education Office of Civil Rights and have experience with labor and contract matters.