Education law controls investigations, disputes, administrative hearings and lawsuits affecting students, teachers and other employees in both, K-12 schools, and colleges and universities. It involves a body of state and federal laws and regulations that govern curriculum standards, testing procedures, discipline, liability, constitutional rights, employment rights for educators, school safety, financial aid for students, school finances, and a range of other matters.

What do education lawyers do?

Education attorneys handle legal matters related to education. They advise clients about laws and regulations pertaining to education.  Students, teachers and other school employees need representation in administrative hearings.  Education rights litigation is a powerful tool used by education lawyers to promote educators’ rights and, education equity. If you are a teacher student, parent, or guardian involved in a dispute with a public school district, our education lawyers can provide direct legal assistance, for example, in cases related to discipline, special education, bullying, or residency.  If you are a college student facing Title IX charges you need experienced counsel.

What legal issues can arise under education law? 


Education lawyers at the firm represent school employees.  In the K-12 school setting, and  at the college level, teachers have  statutory and contract rights that their employers must follow, and our attorneys often represent school employees in administrative proceedings and state and federal lawsuits.

Title IX violations

Title IX is a federal civil rights law included in the Education Amendments of 1972. It provides protection from discrimination based on sex in education programs or other activities that receive financial assistance from the federal government. . Examples of Title IX violations in schools include sex discrimination in sports, sex discrimination in education, and sexual harassment. Title IX also provides due process when allegations of non-consensual sexual activity are filed.  Investigation and disciplinary hearings in such cases require experienced counsel.

Discrimination in education

Any educational program or facility that receives federal funding is prohibited from discriminating on the basis of protected characteristics in providing benefits or services. These federal civil rights protections are applicable to libraries, museums, secondary schools, colleges, universities, vocational schools, and any activities that receive Department of Education funds. One example of discrimination in education is racial disparity in school discipline. Federal civil rights laws prohibit discrimination in education on the basis of:

  • Race
  • Color
  • National origin
  • Language
  • Disability
  • Sex
  • Religion

Education reform: No child left behind / Leandro

The No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 (NCLB) was designed to impose minimum performance standards for schools. It covers annual assessments of student progress in reading and mathematics, and numerous other federal education programs. This act required school districts to ensure their students were proficient in grade-level reading and math by 2014 and making adequate progress on a yearly basis toward grade-appropriate goals. Under NCLB, parents of children in low-performing schools have the right to transfer their children to higher-performing schools in other districts. 

The Leandro litigation has been in the state courts since the late 1990s and is still pending. The case established the parameters of the state constitutional right to a “sound basic education” and has monitored public education in the state as it attempts to meet those goals in low performing school districts.

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Why choose us?

At Tin Fulton Walker & Owen, PLLC we have a long tradition of representing school employees at both the K-12 and college level, of representing students in Title IX proceedings, and of representing families with various educational concerns. We have years of experience and a history of success in high-profile, difficult education cases, at the administrative state and federal court level.  Lawyers in the firm are well-known for their experience and success in such matters throughout North Carolina.

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