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Headshot of Alexis Rickmers

Alexis Rickmers

  • Hosted by Lawyers for Civil Rights
  • Sponsored by Biogen, Finnegan, Henderson, Farabow, Garrett & Dunner, LLP
  • Service location Boston, Massachusetts
  • Law school Northeastern University School of Law
  • Issue area Education/Special Education, Racial Justice
  • Fellowship class year 2023
  • Program Design-Your-Own Fellowship

The Project

Alexis’s (she/her) project will address racial bullying in Massachusetts’s public schools through direct representation, Know Your Rights training, and working with school districts to implement race-responsive anti-bullying policies.

In the 2018–2019 school year, 5.2 million students ages 12 to 18 reported that they experienced some form of harassment or bullying in school, with one in four experiencing bullying related to their race or national origin. In highly segregated schools, racial bullying and harassment are a prevalent issue. In a sample of Greater Boston school districts, several districts had a student populations with 70% (or more) white students. Other school districts had a Black or Hispanic population of 10% or less. Incidents of racial bullying and feelings of racial isolation can increase where students of color attend predominantly white schools.

Racial bullying is a unique problem that needs a comprehensive response to seek immediate relief for the students and a systemic approach to change the culture within schools.

Alexis’s experience as a teacher and advocate motivates her commitment to working with students, families, and districts to promote educational equity for students of color.

Fellowship Plans

During her Fellowship, Alexis will provide direct representation to impacted students and families. She will send demand letters to school districts to secure enforcement of anti-discrimination and anti-bullying laws. Additionally, Alexis will create a Know Your Rights guide to empower students and families in the K-12 system to reference when experiencing racial bullying. This effort will target districts that have high rates of racial bullying. She will work closely with school staff on preventative measures they can and should take to reduce the racial harassment and isolation of their students.

Students of color deserve to feel safe at school and to see real change from their peers and administration. I am honored to use my Equal Justice Works Fellowship to address this urgent need and empower the students of Massachusetts.

Alexis Rickmers /
2023 Equal Justice Works Fellow

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