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Heyl Royster's Education Practice serves the counseling and litigation needs of school districts, as well as public and private colleges and universities throughout Illinois. Educational institutions confront many different legal issues, and almost any legal matter can affect the image of the institution and its students, faculty, staff, alumni, and the surrounding community. The attorneys in our Education Practice think beyond the immediate legal issues in order to provide clients with mission-critical guidance. Our attorneys are experienced in representing educational institutions in state and federal court, before administrative agencies, labor boards, hearing officers, mediators, and arbitrators.

Members of this practice belong to the National Association of College and University Attorneys (NACUA), the National Council of School Attorneys (COSA), and the Illinois Council of School Attorneys (ICSA).

Our Education Law attorneys bring a variety of experience and talent to our education clients, including:

  • Providing legal advice regarding labor and employment, board governance, student discipline, special education, risk management, litigation, consolidation, public finance, real estate and construction.
  • Representing Boards of Education and Boards of Trustees in negotiations of collective bargaining agreements and labor contract administration.
  • Contract preparation, analysis, and review.
  • Representing school districts in state and federal court, before the Illinois Department of Human Rights, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the Illinois Educational Labor Relations Board, arbitrators, and hearing officers.
  • Providing consultation and preparation of school district policies and administrative procedures.
  • Attending school board meetings, providing advice related to the preparation of agendas, the Open Meetings Act, and Freedom of Information Act.  

Our Education Practice is supported by the full resources of the firm and more than 30 practice groups, including:

In-Service Training for Educators
We have experience in all areas related to school law, including but not limited to special education and due process, bullying, FOIA/OMA, labor and employment, mandated reporting, student records and student discipline. We are available to present at your upcoming meetings or workshops.

Representative School District Clients
Cherry Grade School District No. 92
El Paso-Gridley CUSD No. 11
McLean County Unit District No. 5
Oak Grove School District No. 68
Peoria Heights CUSD No. 325
Peoria Public Schools District No. 150

Representative Higher Education Clients
Eastern Illinois University
Illinois Eastern Community Colleges
Southern Illinois University
SIU School of Medicine
University of Illinois

Significant Cases

  • Doe-2 v. School District: A case alleging that the school district was liable for failing to report a teacher that was allegedly abusing children and concealing alleged known sexual abuse to another school district that hired the teacher. The federal district court granted our motion to dismiss and the Seventh Circuit affirmed the dismissal.
  • Doe v. Board of Trustees of University of Illinois: A former student sued the University after he was dismissed from the medical school program. The fifteen count federal complaint asserted damages in excess of $100 million. Several counts were dismissed at the pleading stage and the entire lawsuit was dismissed with prejudice before discovery closed.
  • R. v. School District, High School, and Individual Teacher: Obtained summary judgment for a school district arising out of a near amputation of an 8th grader's hand while in shop class, which was affirmed on appeal, based upon a failure to supervise theory under the Illinois Tort Immunity Act.
  • G. v. School District: A school student that suffered a seizure while at school that resulted in near vegetative state sued the school district for failing to timely seek medical attention. We successfully argued on a motion to dismiss that no duty was owed and that even if a duty were owed, the claim was barred by the Tort Immunity Act.
  • J. v. School District: A school student that was hit in the mouth with a discus thrown by another student sued the school district for failure to supervise. We successfully argued on a motion to dismiss that no duty was owed and that even if a duty were owed, the claim was barred by the Tort Immunity Act.
  • Represented a school district in a week-long due process hearing. The parent/student alleged the child was denied due process relative to learning and physical disabilities. Our client school district was cleared of all allegations of procedural and substantive due process violations.
  • In a case against a school district, a student who alleged injury when another student pointed a laser pointer at her eye sued the school district for failure to supervise. The trial court granted dismissal, accepting our argument that no duty was owed.


  • "Teacher's Employment Reinstated after Appellate Court finds her Dismissal was Unfounded," A Lesson Learned Newsletter (2016) - Read Article
  • "State Appellate Court Considers if School Board Violated Open Meetings Act," A Lesson Learned Newsletter (2016) - Read Article
  • "Do Not Hire: Illinois Supreme Court's Decision Regarding Mandatory Grievance Arbitration," A Lesson Learned Newsletter/Employer's Edge - Heyl Royster Education & Employment Newsletters (2016) - Read Article