Jackie Gharapour Wernz

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Attorney representing educational institutions in a wide range of education and employment law matters.

Latest Articles

With Guest Authors Jennifer Smith and Kendra Yoch Litigants challenging the opening of women’s restrooms and locker rooms in schools to transgender females have roundly been defeated. While the Supreme Court could always change the trend, cases like Whitcare v. Kenosha and Grim v. Glouchester show that it is increasingly settled that students and employees must have access to facilities consistent with their gender identities. Activist litigants, however, such as Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), have…
The U.S. Department of Education has created a “new, proactive” civil rights compliance center within its Office for Civil Rights. The Department describes the Outreach, Prevention, Education and Non-discrimination, or OPEN, Center as an effort to “support[ ] school districts, colleges, and those closest to students” by providing educational institutions “technical assistance to help them come into compliance with federal civil rights laws prior to the filing of a complaint.” Yet OCR retains the right to…
I was honored to speak recently at the Illinois Association of School Personnel Administrators (IASPA) Thirteenth Annual Conference on January 23, 2020. Franczek P.C. is a longtime, proud sponsor of IASPA and was a Silver Sponsor of this year’s conference. I saw many familiar faces in the room and throughout the conference center.  My topic–Title IX Fundamentals for Personnel Administrators–is always a hot one, because for many in human resources Title IX is an afterthought until…
We all know how important it is for responsible employees in educational institutions to report up the chain when they learn of sexual misconduct against a student. But the stakes for noncompliance just grew in Texas, where lawmakers recently passed legislation allowing jail time in addition to institutional penalties for responsible employees who fail to report as required by law. It seems like a good reason for a refresher on the rules for responsible…
The Title IX world is abuzz with expectation about the release of regulations from the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. The general consensus is that even if the Department makes some changes based on the 100,000+ comments it received on the proposed rules, any final rules released will roll back many Obama-era protections for students reporting sexual misconduct. Yet, even as the Department continues with its plans to lighten the load on…
My calendar has been full these past weeks with administrator trainings on Title IX, and one of the issues repeatedly raised is how age and maturity impact the analysis of whether conduct is sexual in nature. A recent report from Maryland provides a good opportunity to discuss this issue. Whether you are a K-12 or higher education administrator, this case is an important reminder of how age and maturity level come into play in student-on-student…
Readers of the blog know that I recently presented at the ATIXA West Coast Conference in San Francisco, California. My presentation was on Title IX and employee rights—an issue I realized when I worked at OCR that many institutions were not thinking about as much as they should. It was a great experience to share my thoughts on the subject with a room full of engaged Title IX and HR administrators from K-12 and higher…