Crystal Pardue

The Project

Crystal provided legal support and engaged in community organizing and political advocacy for Indigenous students and families who are disproportionately affected by the school-to-prison pipeline.

Culturally-uninformed school discipline proceedings disproportionately affect students of color in Washington State. Compared to their peers, Native American students specifically are 30% more likely to experience long-term school discipline and referrals to the juvenile justice system, twice as likely to repeat a grade, and three times as likely to drop out of school. Native students often lack legal advocacy during discipline hearings, leading to devastating long-term impacts on their access to education.

When many education services moved to remote access only because of COVID-19, tribal communities struggled to maintain a connection to imperative services. In the education equity context, Native American students living in areas with little to no broadband internet access were at risk of falling behind because they were unable to access the school classroom and educational materials online.

Fellowship Highlights

During her two-year Fellowship, Crystal:

  • Provided advice and brief service to 200 clients on school discipline, first amendment law, and tribal broadband law through know-your-rights events, ALCU intake line, and community referrals
  • Engaged in legal advocacy related to the rights of Native Americans in detention and prisons
  • Filed multiple amicus briefs addressing anti-Native American disparities in the Washington child welfare system
  • Attended 150 meetings for stakeholder groups and Native American community organizations on broadband expansion and school reopening
  • Provided counsel to representatives from several Washington tribes on federal broadband expansion bills
  • Lobbied to the state legislature for equitable broadband service deployment

Next Steps

Crystal will join the Seattle public interest law firm Ziontz Chestnut as an associate attorney, where she will represent tribes and related entities across a variety of federal Indian law issues.


Indigenous struggles, Indigenous resilience

2020 Scales of Justice Highlights

As an Equal Justice Works Fellow, I’m committed to addressing the needs of Native American youth in Washington, and I’m eager to work to ensure their secure access to education.

Crystal Pardue /
Equal Justice Works Fellow