Katrina Feldkamp

Katrina Feldkamp

  • Hosted by Bronx Legal Services
  • Sponsored by The Arnold & Porter Foundation
  • Service location New York, New York
  • Law school New York University School of Law
  • Issue area Education/Special Education
  • Fellowship class year 2018
  • Program Design Your Own Fellowship

The Project

Katrina is protecting the rights of Bronx students with childhood trauma and behavioral and emotional health challenges by providing direct representation in discipline and special education hearings, establishing medical-legal partnerships, and advancing community-based advocacy and education.

Bronx students with disabilities, including those with behavioral and emotional health challenges rooted in childhood trauma, are disproportionately subject to harsh discipline practices. Though they represent only 18.7% of the student population, students with disabilities account for over 40% of students suspended after law enforcement contact, students suspended more than once, and students transported from school to psychiatric emergency rooms. The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act and State and City regulations protect these students’ rights to an inclusive education environment and appropriate interventions during behavioral crises. However, advocacy under these laws involves long-term engagement with government stakeholders and complex individual hearings that often require legal counsel.

Fellowship Highlights

In the past year, Katrina has:

  • Filed a federal lawsuit, with the support of Arnold & Porter, against the New York City Department of Education alleging Title IX and federal disability law claims on behalf of four students who were sexually assaulted in New York City schools and experienced trauma-related disabilities as a result
  • Launched medical-legal partnerships with Vibrant Emotional Health and Lincoln Hospital’s Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
  • Founded a working group of community members, advocates, and providers that is educating the Bronx community about the impact of trauma on learning and is advocating for trauma-informed schools

Next Steps

In the next year, Katrina plans to:

  • Launch a pro bono partnership with Arnold & Porter to build the capacity of existing medical-legal partnerships
  • Further develop medical-legal partnerships by implementing a client and provider feedback system
  • Host community education events on school discipline rights and special education rights

Media

DOE Failed To Protect Students From Sexual Assaults, Lawsuit Alleges

Facing Lawsuits, NYC Retools Sexual Harassment Policies For Schools

If you deny a person or a community access to education, you deny them a voice and the resources to advocate for themselves, their rights, and a society that recognizes their dignity.

Katrina Feldkamp /
Equal Justice Works Fellow

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