Alexis Piazza

  • Hosted by American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California
  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise Company, Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP
  • Service location Los Angeles, California
  • Law school New York University School of Law
  • Issue area Education/Special Education, Housing/Homelessness
  • Fellowship class year 2017
  • Program Design Your Own Fellowship

The Project

Alexis provided essential support, legal advocacy, and outreach to school-age children and youth experiencing homelessness in the Inland Empire region of California.

Children experiencing homelessness are the most vulnerable student population in California. They face the same challenges as any child living in poverty, but they also face a unique set of obstacles, including higher rates of mobility, hunger, physical and mental illness, abuse and neglect, and trauma. The Inland Empire region of California is particularly devastated, with rates of homelessness that are several times the national and state averages. This project ensured schools and school districts do everything they can to support this high-need student population.

Fellowship Highlights

In the past two years, Alexis has:

  • Directly represented 15 youth experiencing homelessness who faced barriers to their enrollment and success in school, including youth residing at an emergency shelter in the Inland Empire
  • Developed, published, and disseminated, with support from HPE and Morgan Lewis, 1,000 Know Your Rights materials for students experiencing homelessness as part of the ACLU’s ongoing statewide My School My Rights campaign
  • Delivered several presentations to education leaders in Los Angeles, San Bernardino, and Riverside counties, and also a statewide presentation in collaboration with the California DOE Homeless Education Office to share strategies to support students experiencing homelessness
  • Administered statewide survey of over 600 school district homeless liaisons in California, and published companion reports, developed with support from Morgan Lewis attorneys, sharing key findings and recommendations for K-12 schools and California Community Colleges to better support students experiencing homelessness
  • Provided technical assistance to state legislators drafting legislation to ensure schools more effectively identify and support students experiencing homelessness

What’s Next

Next year, Alexis will be clerking for a federal judge on the United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit. After his clerkship, Alexis plans to continue his work as an advocate for educational equity in California.

Media

ACLU, parents groups pitch Pomona Unified School District with new budgeting proposal

Hidden In Plain Sight: Homeless Students

Padres de estudiantes de Pomona se quejan ante el distrito escolar por gastos académicos

Time to bring participatory budgeting to Pomona Unified

There are over 200,000 students experiencing homelessness in California alone. These students don’t just need great teachers, they also need legal advocates who can help ensure that they know their rights, can attend school, and receive the necessary support to be successful.

Alexis Piazza /
Equal Justice Works Fellow

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