Joshua E. Douglass has practiced extensively in virtually all school law sectors, including leading federal civil rights investigations in schools, in-house counsel at a large urban school district, and as a hearing officer in special education due process hearings.
Josh comes to Mickes O’Toole from the U.S. Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights office in Kansas City, Missouri, which oversees civil rights compliance in seven states, including Missouri and Kansas. Josh led the office’s investigative and legal staff in the investigation and resolution of thousands of civil rights investigations into issues such as race or sex harassment, student discipline, special education, Title IX athletics, among many others. Josh’s work included reviewing school policies and providing training to assist public schools districts and post-secondary institutions with their compliance with federal civil rights laws.
Prior to federal service, Josh led the legal department at the Kansas City Missouri Public Schools. At the district, Josh worked with the special education director to improve the delivery of special education services and ensuring compliance, resulting in far fewer parent disputes. Josh also defended the district in dozens of internal grievances, developed and implemented the district’s discrimination and harassment policy and investigations, and refined the district’s contracting protocol, all during a period of accreditation turmoil. Josh also successfully led the defense to litigation arising from the district’s sale of surplus school buildings.
Josh’s experience also includes substantial experience as a municipal prosecutor and civil litigator:
- Obtaining a jury verdict on behalf of his client accused of negligence operation of a vehicle;
- Successfully defending his client in a license revocation before the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms;
- Overturning the tax sale of his client’s property through successful representation at the Missouri Court of Appeals.
Josh is a product of Missouri’s public education system, graduating from Knox County High School (’90), and the University of Missouri at Columbia (BA ’95) (JD ’01).
Areas of Practice:
- Education Law
- Civil Rights
- Special Education
- Employment Law
Bar and Court Admissions:
- United States Court of Appeals, 8th Circuit
- United States District Court, Eastern District of Missouri
- United States District Court, Western District of Missouri
- University of Missouri at Columbia, B.A.
- University of Missouri at Columbia, J.D.
- Council of School Attorneys, National School Board Association, American Bar Association
- Education Law Committee, Missouri Bar
- Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis