Matt Keenan

School law includes school residency, academic discipline and teacher termination matters.

In residency cases, a school district notifies a parent that a student does not live within a district’s boundaries.  Many of these cases involve families with unconventional living situations.  If the school finds against you, it may dis-enroll your child and charge you with potentially thousands of dollars in tuition. The laws regarding residency can be tricky so it is best to consult an attorney before dealing with the school and preferably as soon as you are notified by the school. Many a parent has tried handling the hearing themselves, only calling after it was too late for me to help. By then, the factual record has been set, and no further evidence can be presented. If called early on, I can help parents present their case at hearing or in some cases, negotiate a settlement on their behalf. My article on this topic, “Representing Students in School Residency Challenges,” appeared in the Illinois Bar Journal in January, 2011.

In cases of academic discipline, I have represented families at all grade levels when their child has been threatened with suspension or expulsion for conduct violations such as making threats, possessing a weapon or selling drugs. I can help in negotiating a settlement and/or presenting your student’s defense at hearing.

I have also represented Illinois college students in discipline code violations such as cheating, plagiarism or criminal offenses.  These cases can be difficult since school hearings are often biased against the student, and many schools do not allow attorneys to participate.  Even when I cannot attend the hearing, I can still advise you on how best to present your evidence and yourself. I can also assist with writing academic appeals at the administrative level.

My practice has also represented teachers with termination matters including tenure termination hearings and accusations of wrongdoing.