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Brittany Harwell

2017, Equal Justice Works Fellowships, Brittany Harwell

Brittany Harwell

Name of Host Organization: Disability Rights Texas
City, State: San Antonio, Texas
Issue area: Education/Special Education
Sponsors: Texas Access to Justice Foundation

The Project

Advocating for parents and students to ensure that special education identification, evaluation, placement and service provision is not influenced by a student’s race.

The Inspiration

Need Addressed By Project
Inadequate and disproportionate special education services contribute to both lower graduation rates and higher incarceration rates for youth of color. In San Antonio there are few legal service providers focusing on children or education, and legal aid organizations are overburdened. While Disability Rights Texas is the primary special education advocacy organization in Texas, they have never had a project working specifically on issues of racial justice within special education.
The Right Person For This Project
Brittany is the right person for the project because:
• She spent both summer legal clerkships in south Texas at nonprofits that advocate for both structural and individual educational equity
• She belives that it is essential that we ensure that students, regardless of their race, are appropriately identified and given adequate services to keep them out of the juvenile justice system and become active community members
Plans For First Six Months of Fellowship
In the first six months, Brittany will:
• Create training curriculum based on input from community partners
• Support project aligned cases and transition to representation of at least 15 families
• Collect and analyze avaliable data on racial disproportionality for San Antonio school districts