Making a Difference: the Power of Pro Bono and the Fight for Disability Justice

September 24, 2021

Disability Justice, Lawton v. Success Academy Charter Schools, News

Children in school

NYLPI and partners presented to a group of nearly 100 federal judges and attorneys at the Federal Bar Council American Inn of Court meeting on September 21, 2021, launching their program year organized on the theme of access to justice.

Making a Difference: the Power of Pro Bono and the Fight for Disability Justice

In 2015, a large charter school network targeted five young children with an endless campaign of early dismissals, harassing calls to parents, failure to accommodate disabilities, and outright pressure to remove them from the school. The principal even created a “Got to Go” list that included these children, ages four to six.  One by one, the parents withdrew their children from the school, unable to watch as teachers and staff devastated their children’s self-esteem.  The litigation team from New York Lawyers for the Public Interest and Stroock & Stroock & Lavan discussed the precedent-setting litigation challenging the charter school network’s discriminatory practices designed to drive out students with disabilities through unreasonably harsh disciplinary policies.  Lawton, et al. v. Success Academy of Fort Greene, et al., 15-cv-07058 (FB) (SMG)

Panelists

Alan Klinger – Co-Managing Partner, Stroock

Ruth Lowenkron – Director of Disability Justice, NYLPI

Beth A. Norton – General Counsel, United Federation of Teachers (co-counsel on the case while at Stroock)

Christopher Schuyler – Senior Staff Attorney, Disability Justice Program, NYLPI

McGregor Smyth – Executive Director, NYLPI

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