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Friday, December 8 • 4:15pm - 5:45pm
Alternative Schools: A Needed Hand Up, or Second Class Education for Students of Color?

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Much attention has been paid to disparities in suspensions and expulsions and their disparate impact on students of color over the last several years. Important legislative and local policy changes have been made to address the overuse of discipline and focus on alternative interventions. Unforturnately, while both the suspension and expulsion rates have decreased across the country, significant disparities persist for African-American and Latino students. This session will address the fact that even with the decrease in expulsions, there has not been a significant decrease in referrals -- involuntary or otherwise -- to alternative school settings that disproportionately enroll African-American and Latino students. Data analysis strategies will be shared that will reveal the over-reliance on alternative schools as a long-term placement for students of color and the methods used by schools to avoid having to report these assignments as expulsions. The session will also address strategies based on equal protection, due process, and state education guarantees for challenging alternative school assignments. Finally, the session will share work on the development of model policies at both referring schools and alternative schools to help ensure that such assignments are not just warehousing of students but are provide a meaningful and equivalent access to education services.


Lyndsi Andreas

Staff Attorney, Greater Bakersfield Legal Assistance
Lyndsi Andreas is a staff attorney in the Education Law Project and the Access to Justice Rural Project at Greater Bakersfield Legal Assistance, Inc. In this position, she represents low-income clients with respect to school discipline, special education, truancy, bullying, and civil... Read More →

Leoda Valenzuela

Alternative Schools Equity Project Community Worker, California Rural Legal Assistance
Leoda Valenzuela is a rural education equity community worker for the nonprofit law firm California Rural Legal Assistance in Oxnard. She has been working full-time for nonprofits since 2015 with a focus on leadership development within the community to effect positive change in education... Read More →

Franchesca Verdin

Rural Education Equity Project Director, California Rural Legal Assistance
Franchesca S. Verdin is director of the Rural Education Equity Program for California Rural Legal Assistance, Inc. (CRLA). She specializes in youth and education law. Ms. Verdin received her B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley, in 2007 and her J.D. from Boalt Hall School... Read More →

Shannon Walker

Education Equity Attorney, California Rural Legal Assistance, Inc.
Shannon Walker is an attorney with the Rural Education Equity Project at California Rural Legal Assistance in the Central Valley of California. Ms. Walker specializes in disproportionate discipline, push out of vulnerable students to alternative schools and programs, and federal and... Read More →

Friday December 8, 2017 4:15pm - 5:45pm EST
Meeting Room 8 Meeting Room Level