Name of Host Organization: The Atlanta Legal Aid Society
City, State: Atlanta, Georgia
Issue area: Education/Special Education
Sponsors: UPS, Inc., Alston & Bird, LLP
Clayton empowered parents of children with special needs to access quality education for their children. Through advocacy, legal representation, and training, Clayton prepared families to negotiate with school districts and trained parents to help other students and their families.
Need Addressed By Project
Many parents in Georgia lack the tools they need to ensure that public schools are responsive to the needs of their children. This deficiency disproportionately affects some of the most underserved communities in Atlanta. For instance, African-American students are almost four times more likely than other students to be identified as having a learning disability or behavioral disorder in Atlanta's schools. As a result, every year Atlanta area schools place some 1,500 African-American and Latino students in special needs settings without ensuring that their disabilities are properly identified or that placement will help students overcome their disabilities. With training and legal support, parents can improve these figures by advocating for their children’s specific needs in Individual Education Plan (IEP) meetings.