Name of Host Organization: Greater Boston Legal Services
City, State: Boston, Massachusetts
Issue area: Children/Youth, Education/Special Education
Sponsors: Staples, WilmerHale
Elizabeth intervened in the school-to-prison pipeline for poor children with disabilities in Boston schools by advocating for their educational and mental health rights through direct representation, community legal education, and policy work.
Need Addressed By Project
Education is vital to escaping poverty. Unfortunately, far too many children are suspended or expelled from Boston area schools and thus deprived of a meaningful education. Students who are suspended or expelled from school are three times more likely to drop out than their peers, and students who drop out are three times more likely to be incarcerated. Students with disabilities are disproportionately funneled into this school-to-prison pipeline. Although students with disabilities are only 16 percent of the Massachusetts student body, they account for 47 percent of the disciplinary removals. Massachusetts, however, has new laws protecting the education and health care rights of these students. This project is designed to make these rights meaningful, so poor children with disabilities receive the education and health care to which they are entitled.