Lewis Thomason has represented governmental subdivisions, municipalities and educational institutions in several matters regarding education, including educator-student issues, personnel and employment matters and real estate. We also have defended individual educators in litigation matters arising in the educational setting. In addition to providing legal counsel to both public and private schools and school systems, the firm has also provided representation on educational funding issues.
We represent more than 70 boards of public education, two private universities and an association representing the premier private schools in Tennessee.
We routinely handle matters such as:
- Employment of Licensed and Classified Employees
- Employee Contracts
- Employee and Student Discipline
- Employee and Student Rights
- Special Education issues as governed by the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
- Disability accommodations as governed by the ADA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act
- First Amendment Issues covering student and employee speech
- Sexual Harassment
- Civil Rights matters
- Tort Liability
- School Finance and Taxation
- School Construction
In addition to advising school boards and superintendents on legal matters involving day-to-day school operations, we also draft and lobby for legislation in the Tennessee Legislature; compose and revise board policies and administrative rules and regulations; defend those policies and procedures in state and federal courts and before committees of the general assembly; and develop and deliver school board and school employee training seminars throughout the state.
Education law is very different from the usual defense practice. We often use the following analogy: In a typical defense case, the “car” is already in the ditch, the wheels are off, someone is injured, hospital bills have accrued, and a lawsuit has been filed. In education law, we direct traffic and try to prevent crashes. Often, we are called as a situation unfolds at a school and asked to provide legal guidance to prevent future litigation or, at a minimum, make sure our clients have a good defense.