Walter Haverfield Attorney

Sara M. Markouc

  • Associate
  • Cleveland Direct: 216.928.2924
  • Cleveland Fax: 216.916.2362

Overview

Sara's practice focuses on general labor and employment issues and school law. She represents boards of education in all areas related to education law, including but not limited to employee disciplinary concerns and contract issues, social media issues, student-related disciplinary matters, collective bargaining agreements, residency and custody disputes, the drafting and implementation of board policies, public records requests and associated matters, and discrimination concerns. Sara's experience includes multiple arbitrations and responses to unfair labor practice charges. She has also successfully negotiated public sector labor agreements.

Sara regularly provides training for administrators and staff on the above issues, with a particular emphasis on special education-related matters. She also represents school district clients before the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights and the Ohio Department of Education in matters involving special education students. Plus she assists clients in all related litigation.

Sara also represents private- and public-sector employers in labor and employment matters, including issues arising under Title VII and claims dealing with employee termination and discipline matters. She has represented clients in proceedings before the Ohio Civil Rights Commission, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and the Unemployment Compensation Review Commission. Sara also regularly counsels clients on records retention issues and the drafting of their policy manuals. She also provides training to public and private sector employers regarding compliance and a variety of other issues.

Experience

Special Education
  • 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 numerous due process complaints in mediation in a cost-effective and expedient manner.
  • Represents school districts in all phases of IDEA due process hearings.
  • 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.
Labor and Employment
  • Represents 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 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.
Student Issues
  • Represents school districts in student discipline proceedings before boards of education, appointed designees and in appeals to court.
  • Represents school districts in special education discipline situations – including due process hearings involving student discipline issues.
  • Counsels school districts regarding due process rights and procedural safeguards in discipline situations.
  • Counsels school districts regarding residency and custody disputes.
  • Counsels school districts regarding obligations under the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA).
Collective Bargaining
  • Represents school districts in negotiations with certified and classified staff.
  • Represents school districts before the State Employment Relations Board relative to unfair labor practice charges.

Recognition

Articles

Presentations

Sara is a regular presenter for school districts throughout Northeast Ohio. Representative topics include:

  • Student discipline under the IDEIA and Section 504
  • Student privacy issues and FERPA compliance
  • Transgender students: Common issues and new guidance
  • The perils and pitfalls of social media
  • Emerging issues in special education law and compliance
  • Section 504 legal update - Impact of ADAAA
  • Residency and custody legal update
  • Mastery of the preparation of a compliant PR-01
  • The process of due process
  • What building administrators need to know about special education
  • Documenting student progress under the IDEIA
  • Writing legally defensible IEPs
  • Surviving due process

Sara’s presentations include:

  • “Special Education/Pupil Services Professional Development Series: Session II (Spring is Here…and so is IEP Season),” Educational Service Center of Cuyahoga County, Valley View, OH, April 13, 2015
  • “Special Education/Pupil Services Professional Development Series: Session I (Back to School: What Districts Need to Know to Start the 2014-15 School Year),” Educational Service Center of Cuyahoga County, Valley View, OH, September 22, 2014
  • “Special Education/Pupil Services Professional Development Series: Session III (Spring is Here—We’re in the Home Stretch),” Educational Service Center of Cuyahoga County, Valley View, OH, April 7, 2014
  • “Special Education/Pupil Services Professional Development Series: Session II (The School Year Rolls On – What’s on the Horizon),” Educational Service Center of Cuyahoga County, Valley View, OH, January 27, 2014
  • “Special Education/Pupil Services Professional Development Series: Session I (Legal Updates for the Start of the 2013-14 School Year),” Educational Service Center of Cuyahoga County, Valley View, OH, September 16, 2013
  • “Special Education/Pupil Services Professional Development Series: Session III (Legal Updates and Tips for Surviving ‘IEP Season’),” Educational Service Center of Cuyahoga County, Valley View, OH, April 10, 2013
  • “Special Education/Pupil Services Professional Development Series: Session II (The School Year Rolls On – More Legal Updates),” Educational Service Center of Cuyahoga County, Valley View, OH, January 23, 2013
  • "Special Education/Pupil Services Professional Development Series: Session I (Legal Updates for the Start of the 2012-13 School Year)," Educational Service Center of Cuyahoga County, Valley View, OH, October 19, 2012

Associations

  • American Bar Association

Podcasts

Submit comments or questions