Legal Offices at the DOE
Office of the General Counsel
The Office of the General Counsel (OGC) represents and advises the New York City Department of Education on all legal matters, including general practice issues, labor and employment matters, equal opportunity, employee discipline, special education, administrative/state/federal law and compliance, and commercial transactions.
Office of General Counsel Executive Leadership Team
- Howard Friedman, General Counsel
- Henry Bluestone Smith, Chief of Staff
- Toni Gantz, Executive Deputy Counsel for Employment and General Practice
- Charity Guerra, Executive Deputy Counsel for Administrative Trials, Operations and Compliance
- Judy Nathan, Executive Deputy Counsel for Risk Management and Litigation
Office of the General Counsel Contact Information
The Department of Education has attorneys in all five boroughs and expertise in five main practice areas to serve the chancellor, administrators, and teachers who educate and support the City’s over 1.1 million students.
Labor and Employment
Through its units, OGC maintains a full-service labor and employment practice with the goal of protecting the safety of students and employees and the integrity of the DOE. OGC attorneys offer training and counsel to central, field, and school-based staff regarding mandated reporting, human rights laws, grievances, and the disciplinary process, and represent the DOE in administrative proceedings.
Investigations and Administrative Trials
Through its units, OGC investigates allegations of employee misconduct, including verbal/physical abuse, discrimination and sexual harassment. When allegations of misconduct and/or incompetence are substantiated, attorneys pursue disciplinary action. To learn more about how to file a complaint, please see the sections below on reporting misconduct, sexual harassment and discrimination.
Provides representation and counsel to the DOE to ensure that schools are providing special needs students with a free and appropriate education (FAPE). Trains administrators and staff on special education students’ rights, and represents the Department in the impartial hearing process.
Through its units OGC, provides the DOE with direct representation and/or counsel in litigation, including appeals. Offers expertise in the drafting of commercial contracts, administrative regulations, and legislation, and responds to inquiries on a wide array of Education Law issues. This group also responds to requests for information from the public under the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL), and processes subpoenas. See the FOIL section, below, for more information.
Audit, Risk-Management, and Compliance Services
A team of professional auditors and compliance officers ensure that the DOE operates in a fiscally responsible manner and in compliance with local, state, and federal regulations.
To report misuse of E-Rate funding please call 1-718-625-2682 or 1-888-203-8100, or visit the universal service administrative company whistleblower webpage.
Freedom of Information Law Requests and Student Records
The Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) enables the public to request access to Department of Education records. All FOIL requests must be made in writing. No particular form or format is required. You can submit a request in writing in one of the following three ways:
Records Access Officer
NYC Department of Education
52 Chambers Street, Room 308
New York, NY 10007
By visiting the Open Records website.
For more information about the Department of Education’s FOIL policy, please read Chancellor’s Regulation D-110:
Requests for Student Records
If you are a current or former student, or the parent of a current student seeking education records (including transcripts), you do not need to submit a FOIL request, and should contact your/your child’s school directly. Find out more at:
To learn more about how the DOE processes requests for student records, please read Chancellor’s Regulation A-820:
Reporting Misconduct, Sexual Harassment and Discrimination
The Office of Equal Opportunity (OEO) investigates complaints of discrimination and sexual harassment, and ensures that the DOE complies with related local, state, and federal laws. The Office of Special Investigations (OSI) investigates allegations of improper and unlawful behavior, including corporal punishment and verbal abuse against students, to help ensure a safe and secure learning environment for New York City’s students, staff members, and parents.
For more information about DOE policies on corporal punishment, verbal abuse, sexual harassment and/or discrimination, please read the Chancellor’s Regulations below:
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in federally funded education programs and activities. Title IX provides, “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.” The DOE is committed to complying with Title IX and ensuring that DOE schools and workplaces are free of sex discrimination.
Learn more on the Title IX page.
Questions regarding Title IX compliance should be referred to:
Sobia Mahmood, Esq.,
Title IX Coordinator
65 Court Street, Room 1102
Brooklyn, NY 11201
To file a complaint involving allegations of corporal punishment, verbal abuse, or other misconduct, use the Corporal Punishment and Verbal Abuse Reporting form.
To file a complaint involving allegations of discrimination or sexual harassment, please use the Sexual Harassment/Discrimination Complaint form.
File a fraud, sexual misconduct, or misconduct complaint by contacting the Special Commissioner of Investigation at 212 510-1500 or emailing them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you want to report a different concern or complaint, please refer to the How to File and Appeal or Complaint page.
Almost every decision about how schools function is influenced by federal, state, and local law, court decisions, Chancellor's Regulations, collective bargaining agreements, and administrative policy. This intricate web of rules affects everything from the way we review special education, student discipline, and personnel decisions, to the structure and length of the school day.
The Chancellor of the New York City Department of Education is the leader of the agency and serves as an ex-officio non-voting member of the Panel for Educational Policy (PEP), the thirteen-member body that governs educational policy across the school system. The General Counsel is the legal adviser to the Chancellor and agency, and is responsible for ensuring that DOE staff know the rules and comply with them.
You can read more about the Chancellor’s Regulations and the Panel for Education Policy by following the links below:
If you are interested in learning about career opportunities in the Office of the General Counsel, visit our Career Opportunities page.