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Headshot of Tabitha Dwyer

Tabitha Dwyer

  • Hosted by Disability Rights Texas
  • Sponsored by Richard L. Tate Rural Justice Fellowship, Texas Access to Justice Foundation
  • Service location Lubbock, Texas
  • Law school Texas Tech University School of Law
  • Issue area Disability Rights, Education/Special Education
  • Fellowship class year 2023
  • Program Design-Your-Own Fellowship

The Project

Tabitha (she/her/hers) advocates against the use of illegal and harmful disciplinary practices against students with disabilities by school districts in rural North and West Texas and represents youth who have been subjected to such practices.

Tabitha’s project is unique because it introduces services focused solely on the disciplinary issues faced by students with disabilities in North and West Texas. In these rural areas of Texas, there are about 70,000 students receiving special education services. Unfortunately, special education students are disciplined at a higher rate than their nondisabled peers. This is especially evident in rural areas because rural school districts lack the resources to train staff on behavioral supports. Higher poverty rates and language barriers in rural communities limit access to services and legal representation.

As a proud West Texan and younger sister of a former special education student, Tabitha is passionate about the issues that affect the families and communities she will be serving through her Fellowship.

Fellowship Plans

Tabitha will travel throughout North and West Texas to connect with rural communities. She will work to prevent the use of illegal disciplinary practices by utilizing the authority of Disability Rights Texas as the state’s protection and advocacy agency to monitor school disciplinary settings. To obtain justice for youth harmed by these practices, Tabitha will represent students in due process hearings and through administrative agency complaints.

My entire childhood, I witnessed my brother struggle every day against the world labeling him and treating him as other. I am incredibly honored to have the opportunity to fight for those who have experienced those same struggles.

Tabitha Dwyer /
2023 Equal Justice Works Fellow

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Stacy Nuñez

Host: Center for Juvenile Law & Policy

Sponsor: Greenberg Traurig, LLP

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