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Taylor Jones

  • Hosted by National Center for Youth Law
  • Sponsored by Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP
  • Service location Washington, District of Columbia
  • Law school The University of Michigan Law School
  • Issue area Children/Youth
  • Fellowship class year 2020
  • Program Design-Your-Own Fellowship

The Project

Taylor supported District of Columbia youth experiencing homelessness in accessing an appropriate education by challenging school policies and practices that violated their rights under federal and local laws.

As a consequence of homelessness, students may face barriers to accessing their public education, particularly in the world of remote learning. As a highly mobile group, students experiencing homelessness are particularly vulnerable to being among students not currently enrolled or attending online classes—making them likely to fall behind in their academics. Students experiencing homelessness are entitled to remain in their school and receive transportation services and needed academic supports, such as school uniforms, to ensure them a full and equal opportunity to succeed. Youth and their families need to be informed of their legal rights and provided direct representation to ensure they receive the educational opportunities they are owed in-person and through virtual instruction.

Fellowship Highlights

During the two-year Fellowship, Taylor:
  • Partnered with Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP to survey the enrollment processes in D.C. public charter schools in order to identify potential barriers for students experiencing homelessness.
  • Worked with D.C. public charter schools to identify was to eliminate enrollment barriers for students experiencing homelessness.
  • Represented students facing challenges enforcing their school-based rights in IEP meetings.
  • Offered trainings on the education rights of students experiencing homelessness to attorneys and advocates working with children and youth in D.C.

Next Steps

Taylor continues to work at the National Center for Youth Law on the Debt Free Justice Campaign, fighting to abolish fines and fees in the juvenile justice system across the country.

I know first-hand how economic hardship can affect a student in school. I was fortunate enough to have extended family that served as a safety net. I want to advocate for vulnerable children who do not have the same supports.

Taylor Jones /
2020 Equal Justice Works Fellow

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