2012 Equal Justice Works Fellow, Christine Florick Nishimura

Christine Florick Nishimura

Name of Host Organization: Disability Rights Texas
City, State: Austin, Texas
Issue area: Education/Special Education, Children/Youth
Sponsors: Greenberg Traurig, LLP; Texas Access to Justice Foundation

The Project

Christine provided legal advocacy, as well as teacher and attorney training, to ensure minority special education students at risk of entering the juvenile justice system receive academically and culturally appropriate literacy programs and other necessary special education services in order to improve educational and life outcomes.

The Inspiration

Need Addressed By Project: 
After working as a teacher, and experiencing the educational inequality that exists in this country, especially for minority students, Christine knew that she wanted to do more to protect children from falling behind and falling victim to the "school-to-prison" pipeline. The majority of children who enter the juvenile justice system are considered functionally illiterate, and many of those children suffer from learning disabilities. The ability to help keep these kids in the classroom and out of jail has inspired Christine to commit all of her time and energy to the educational needs of children.
Fellowship Highlights: 
During her Fellowship, Christine:
• Provided representation to over 100 clients, including full case services to 58 clients
• Filed 10 state agency and administrative complaints against various school districts for their failure to implement students’ individual education programs, failure to identify students’ special education needs, and failure to educate students in the least restrictive environments
• Conducted training for over 200 parents, students, teachers, and attorneys on special education issues, such as eligibility for specific learning disabilities, appropriate accommodations and modifications for students, and how to support students transitioning out of high school
Where are they now?: 
Christine continues to work at Disability Rights Texas as a full time staff attorney on the Education Team.



Camarillo, California

Law school:

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