The Student Rights Alliance
Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Posted by: Joe Libertelli
The Student Rights Alliance: UDC-DCSL Clinic and Students Working with Other Advocates to Stop School Exclusion
Coury Mascagni and Geno Donney
Juvenile and Special Education Law Clinic and the Took Crowell Institute for
Youth at the UDC-David A. Clarke School of Law have joined with the Disability
Rights Clinic at American
College of Law Disability and with the ACLU of the National Capital Area to
The Student Rights Alliance. Law students from UDC-DCSL and AU, with
faculty supervision, will advocate for youth who are facing long-term
suspension by District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS). This project is aligned also with the new Every
Student, Every Day Coalition.
alumni Geno Donney, ‘12 and Coury Mascagni, ‘12 are working on a part-time
basis with the Took Crowell Institute, and, along with Seema Sadanandam of the
ACLU-NCA, they have been instrumental in creating a Web site -- www.studentrightsalliance.org. The Web site will serve as a primary
component of the advocacy strategy.
Children facing suspension from DCPS can navigate the Web site to learn
their rights in a long-term suspension situation. Parents and children who are interested in
receiving assistance will input data into the new Web site and receive
assistance. UDC-DCSL’s Juvenile and
Special Education Law Clinic students, aided by first-year students doing their
community service, will represent children from targeted high schools in Wards
7 and 8 that have extraordinarily high school-exclusion rates.
DCPS administrators suspended 11,000 of the system’s 46,000 students. Students with special education needs are
suspended at a greater rate than their non-disabled peers. Law student advocates from UDC-DCSL and AU
will work to ensure that every special education student receives a free appropriate
education and that DCPS personnel comply with policies and procedures designed
to protect the rights of students with special needs.
project has started to attract publicity, helping to inform the community about
the overwhelming rate of suspensions and the need for advocacy for DCPS
students. A recent article, http://www.capitalcommunitynews.com/content/student-rights-alliance,
highlights the multi-prong approach of the project to address the school
discipline issues. At http://educationtownhall.org/2013/10/24/student-rights-alliance/,
one can find another article emphasizing the importance of protecting the
rights of DCPS students plus a radio broadcast featuring Geno Donney. For more information, please contact the
Student Rights Alliance via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
or visit the Website.