- Education General Counsel Services
- Labor and Employment
- Education Labor and Employment Law
- Special Education Law
- Student Issues
- Sunshine Law and Public Records
- Education Litigation
- Washington University, J.D., 1999
- Order of the Coif
- Executive Notes Editor, Washington University Law Quarterly, 1999
- Miami University, B.A., 1996, magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa
Licensed to Practice
- U.S. Supreme Court
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth and Sixth Circuits
- U.S. District Court, Northern District of Ohio
Christina focuses her practice on the representation of public school districts. She counsels boards of education on numerous student-related matters including student discipline, student privacy, First Amendment issues and residency/custody disputes. Christina’s practice includes the specialized area of special education law. She advises boards of education extensively regarding state and federal laws relating to the education of students with disabilities. Her representation in this area includes attendance at special education meetings, assisting districts with child find and evaluation issues, providing counsel regarding programming for students with disabilities, and reviewing draft documents for legal compliance. In the event a complaint is filed, Christina represents school districts before the Ohio Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. Christina also represents school districts in due process proceedings under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act from initial administrative hearings through litigation in federal court. Additionally, Christina routinely provides training for teachers and administrators on special education issues.
Christina also provides counsel to boards of education regarding general school law matters such as board governance, public records requests including Sunshine Laws, records retention policies, social media issues, open enrollment and the drafting and implementation of board policies. Additionally, Christina assists school districts with labor and employment matters including employee evaluation and discipline issues, including grievance arbitration. Christina represents school districts in employment discrimination matters including claims brought under Title VII, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, and other claims arising from terminations. Along with representing districts in federal and state courts, Christina defends employers against complaints of discrimination filed with the EEOC and OCRC.
Christina is a member of the Ohio State Bar Association and the Ohio School Boards Association. She chaired the Executive Committee of the Ohio Council of School Board Attorneys in 2014 and served on the Executive Committee for eight years. In addition, Christina was an adjunct professor at Case Western Reserve University School of Law, where she taught a course on disability laws.
SPECIAL EDUCATION LAW
- Represents school districts with respect to the development of legally defensible IEPs and ETRs and all aspects of IDEA procedural compliance.
- Attends IEP and ETR meetings on behalf of school districts to provide legal support to teams in contentious situations.
- Resolves due process complaints in mediation in a cost-effective and expedient manner.
- Represents school districts in all phases of IDEA due process hearings – from the administrative hearing to the United States Supreme Court – in matters involving requests for private placement, allegations of denial of FAPE, and student discipline issues.
- Represents school districts in class action complaint proceedings before the Ohio Department of Education’s Office for Exceptional Children.
- Represents school districts in cases involving the United States Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights including issues of disability discrimination, race discrimination, harassment and bullying.
- Assisted school districts with development of policies/procedures for Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.
- Assists school districts with development of procedures for independent educational evaluations.
LABOR AND EMPLOYMENT
- Represented school districts in proceedings before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and Ohio Civil Rights Commission with respect to claims of race, sex, age, gender and disability discrimination.
- Represents clients in federal court involving claims of race, sex, age, gender and disability discrimination.
- Represents school districts in teacher termination and discipline proceedings.
- Represents school districts in proceedings regarding discipline and termination of classified employees.
- Counsels clients regarding compliance with the ADA, FMLA, FLSA, ADEA and other employment laws.
- Represents school districts in student discipline proceedings before boards of education, appointed designees and in appeals to court.
- Represented school districts in federal court litigation involving alleged violations of constitutional rights and Section 1983 (e.g., bullying, harassment, etc.)
- Represents school districts in special education discipline situations – including due process hearings involving student discipline issues.
- Counsels school districts regarding residency and custody disputes – including matters before the Superintendent of Public Instruction.
- Assists school districts with responses to requests for voluminous educational records.
- Counsels school districts regarding obligations under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
SUNSHINE LAW/PUBLIC RECORDS
- Counsels school districts faced with voluminous public record requests and responded to same on behalf of clients.
- Counsels school districts on various aspects of compliance with Ohio’s Open Meetings Act.
- Counsels school districts on compliance with Ohio’s Public Records Act, including the impact of new technologies on public records.
- Assists clients with development of record retention schedule in compliance with requirements of the Ohio Attorney General and Ohio Historical Society.
GENERAL COUNSEL SERVICES
- Assists school districts with policy review and development.
- Reviews contracts on behalf of school districts and negotiates vendor contracts on behalf of school districts.
- Represents school districts in mediations involving contractual claims.
- Assists school districts with investigations by various agencies including the Ohio Auditor’s Office, Disability Rights Ohio and U.S. Department of Justice.
- 2012-2022 – Selected for inclusion in the 2012-2022 editions of The Best Lawyers in America©. Listed in the current edition for Education Law.
- 2021 – Named the Best Lawyers® 2021 Education Law “Lawyer of the Year” in Cleveland.
- May 2018 – Featured in a special section of Crain’s Cleveland Business titled, “Northeast Ohio Notable Women in Law”
- 2017 – Named the Best Lawyers® 2017 Education Law “Lawyer of the Year” in Cleveland.
- 2006-2007, 2009-2010 – Selected to Ohio Super Lawyers Rising Stars. Areas of practice: Schools & Education, Employment & Labor.
- Nearly Half of All Walter | Haverfield Attorneys Recognized by Best Lawyers®
- U.S. Department of Education Releases “Roadmap” to Return to In-Person Learning
- Guidance Issued Regarding Districts’ Obligations to Students Suffering from “Long COVID” Under the IDEA and Section 504
- CDC and State Department of Health Issue New COVID Guidance for Ohio School Districts
- Ohio H.B. 110 Allows for Creation of Online Learning Schools
- Title IX Protection Extends to Students Who Are Gay & Transgender
- Governor DeWine Requires Schools to Continue Social Distancing and Mask Wearing
- Governor DeWine Announces Ohio Health Orders to End on June 2, 2021; Schools Left with Choice to Continue Requiring Masks
- CDC Urges Schools to Open for In-Person Learning Safely and Soon
- Ohio Releases Guidance for School Districts on Extended Learning Plans for Students
- Two Walter | Haverfield Attorneys Selected as “Lawyer of the Year” by Best Lawyers®
- Ohio Department of Health Extends Contact Sports Order, Clarifies Definition of Contact Sports
- ODE Proposes Rule Changes and Calls for Comments
- Ohio Department of Education Extends Eligibility Under Developmental Delay for Students Transitioning from Preschool to Kindergarten
- New State and Federal Guidance for Special Education Related to COVID-19 Closures
- New Guidance for Early Intervention to Preschool Transition
- Don’t Forget About ADA Accessibility When Planning Virtual Graduation Ceremonies
- U.S. Department of Education Approves Funding for Continued Learning During Pandemic
- Updated Ohio Department of Education Guidance Regarding Students with Disabilities During the State’s School-Building Closure
- Interpreting the Ohio Department of Education’s Guidance Regarding Students with Disabilities During the State’s School-Building Closure
- Ohio Department of Education Issues COVID-19 Frequently Asked Questions Document for Ohio School Districts
- COVID-19 and District Obligations to Students with Disabilities
- Department of Labor: Employees Can Use FMLA to Attend IEP Meetings
- Supreme Court Declines to Review Transgender Restroom Policy of Pennsylvania School
- Ohio Attorney General: Courts Should Decide Who Pays Education Costs
- What the Courts Say About Recording in the Classroom
- Federal program to offer webinars on website accessibility
Christina is a frequent presenter for the Ohio School Boards Association, the Ohio Department of Education, State Support Team 3, the Greater Cleveland School Superintendents’ Association, and school districts throughout Northeast Ohio. She and her colleagues in the Education Law group, in concert with the Educational Service Center of Cuyahoga County, provide ongoing legal updates to school board personnel and administrators.
Christina’s representative presentations include:
- Real World Application of Endrew F: Goal Writing, Data Collection, and Progress Monitoring
- Spring is Here…and So Is IEP Season
- Student Discipline for Off-Campus Speech
- Staff Use of Technology: Common Pitfalls
- Transgender Students: Common Issues and New Guidance
- Achieving Procedural Perfection – Easier Said than Done!
- Mastering the Skill of Preparing a Procedurally Compliant PR-01
- The Process of Due Process
- The Perils and Pitfalls of Social Media
- Student Discipline Under the IDEIA and Section 504
- Residency and Custody Legal Update
- Education Reform Provisions of HB 153
- Section 504 Legal Update – Impact of the ADAAA
- Emerging Issues in Special Education Law and Compliance
- Serving Emotionally Disabled Students in the Least Restrictive Environment
- What Building Administrators Need to Know About Special Education
- Documenting Student Progress Under the IDEIA
- Writing Legally Defensible IEPs
- Surviving Due Process
- Student Privacy Issues and FERPA Compliance
- Student Records, Evaluations and Avoiding Procedural Errors
- Prime Time Title IX: The Tough Issues
- Top Five Special Education Legal Blunders and How to Avoid Them
- Highly Qualified Teachers – Special Attention for Special Education
- Legal Update for Paraprofessionals Working in School Districts
- Student Attendance – What Schools Need to Know
- Changes to Title IX Regulations
- Ohio State Bar Association
- Ohio Council of School Board Attorneys
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