Hearty congratulations to students, faculty and staff of the Youth & Educational Law Project (“YELP”) of the Mills Legal Clinic, who recently completed a number of significant matters on behalf of their clients. Here are some highlights:
Michael Reynolds (‘13) and Nicholas Moreno (‘14) represented fourteen-year-old J.J., an eighth-grader who had been out of school for six months with severe anxiety and depression, while contending with a district unresponsive to the bullying she faced at school. J.J.’s guardian asked YELP for assistance amidst a crisis: she feared for J.J.’s personal safety following her impending discharge from hospitalization, J.J.’s fourteenth on account of suicidal declarations. Michael and Nicholas performed a rapid investigation of a long record before meeting with the district’s superintendent and achieving a temporary residential placement for J.J. so that negotiations about a more permanent solution could be undertaken. Ultimately, Michael and Nicholas assisted J.J. in securing a full residential placement at a top facility, providing J.J. a safe environment to learn and renewing hope for her family.
Ashly Nikkole Davis (‘13) and Kevin Jason (‘14) represented thirteen-year-old A.J. in a special education matter. A.J.’s mother came to YELP because she was concerned that A.J.’s school was not implementing his Section 504 plan, a plan created to accommodate A.J.’s Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder. A.J.’s mother had tried, unsuccessfully, to get the school to consistently implement his Section 504 plan. Ashly Nikkole and Kevin attended a “Section 504 Meeting” with A.J.’s teachers and school administrators and advocated for a revised Section 504 plan with clearer language, to ensure that it is consistently followed by all of A.J.’s teachers. After a lengthy negotiation process, the school adopted the revised Section 504 plan Ashly Nikkole and Kevin proposed.
Kevin Jason (‘14) and Michael Reynolds (‘13) represented fifteen-year old K.L., a tenth-grader expelled from her school for a drug-related incident. When K.L.’s mother approached YELP, she had worries about her daughter being stigmatized and was hoping to get the expulsion removed from K.L.’s record. Kevin and Michael were able to investigate her record and counsel K.L. and her mother through strategies for the present and future. K.L. and her mother are no longer worried about any stigma and have guidance for any future issues regarding K.L.’s disciplinary history.
Andrew Noll (‘14) and Lila Miller (‘14) represented seventh-grade student D.P. in a special education matter. D.P. has ADHD and PTSD, which stems from abuse early in life. Because he has trouble staying focused and working closely with unfamiliar adults, D.P. requires special accommodations to complete his schoolwork. His school was insensitive to his disabilities, which sometimes disrupted the class, and this compounded D.P.’s difficulties. Andrew and Lila requested an individualized education plan (“IEP”) meeting on behalf of D.P. and his mother. At the IEP meeting, they suggested strategies to help D.P. succeed and to hold the school staff accountable for implementing D.P.’s IEP plan. The school district agreed to Andrew and Lila’s proposals and even collaborated on the development of some innovative new tools for helping D.P. in the classroom. Since the meeting, D.P.’s school performance has improved and his mother has been able to communicate openly and effectively with D.P.’s school.
The Youth and Education Law Project is directed by Professor Bill Koski (the Eric and Nancy Wright Professor of Clinical Education). Carly Munson serves as the Bingham McCutchen Clinical Staff Attorney and Joanne Newman is the program’s Legal Assistant.