Currently, rates of suspension and expulsion in New Orleans schools are several times the national average. The schools with the highest rates of suspension and expulsion are overwhelmingly under-resourced, overcrowded and attended by low-income students of color. Many of these students are not receiving the services they are entitled to under the law. Youth who are suspended, expelled or pushed out of school are more likely to end up in the juvenile justice system.
This Clinton Global Initiative Commitment to Action addresses the disproportionate impact of suspensions and expulsions on students by teaching youth ways to exercise their statutory right to administrative hearings. Law students, young adults, and parents learn how the process works and how representation operates in juvenile administrative hearings. This program also teaches youth how to use and support each other's exercise of constitutional rights when encountering police to reduce the risk of youth incarceration through a "know your rights" program series. By synthesizing these two aspects inherent in juvenile justice advocacy, this Commitment to Action will provide a foundation for a school representation program.