Fairness in Education
Fair and equitable education is the key to unlocking lifelong opportunities for children living in poverty. It provides them with the opportunity to learn, graduate, and pursue a good life with jobs to sustain themselves and grow.
As advocates for families and children living in poverty, we and our clients give voice to the challenges they face in obtaining an education – in hearings, in school board meetings, at the state department of education, and in the Ohio General Assembly. ABLE works for changes for individual students, in school policies and practices, and community driven projects for child educational success, so that all children have the opportunity to learn, without regard to race, disability, immigrant background, or poverty.
Areas of Legal Practice and Advocacy: Combatting unfair or discriminatory practices| Suspension & Expulsion Defense | Racial Justice | English Learner education | Disability Rights | Special Education | Educational stability for children who are homeless or in foster care | Community Lawyering projects for educational success | Parent Education and Empowerment | Education funding equity | Mental Health Consumer Rights
Retired Justice Lanzinger, "Justice is a mandate that everyone have an opportunity for education.”
“The Ohio Access to Justice Foundation was previously known as the Ohio Legal Assistance Foundation.”
Katie’s mother struggled to get her daughter the education she needs from their rural, public school district. As a young child, Katie struggled with severe behavioral outbursts and would run away from school – even from a school that specialized in working with children with disabilities. Katie has a genetic disorder, autism, attention deficit and behavioral disorders.
Upholding Clarissa's right to learn
Clarissa’s school removed her from class often without suspension documents. Those documents -- required by law -- would have indicated that her behavioral problems were brought on by disabilities. She was sent home so many times that her mother, Ms. Russell, had to quit her job. With help from an ABLE attorney, Ms. Russell secured an Individualized Education Program (IEP), complying with federal law that requires schools to provide accommodations for students with special needs. That allows Clarissa to stay in school and learn.
How Basma triumphed in her struggle for education
When Basma* came to the U.S., the public school in her district denied her admission by claiming that her middle school diploma which she received in Syria was a terminal school degree. The school claimed this meant Basma could not attend any additional school grades.
ABLE explained to the principal of the school that Basma was entitled to a free, public education regardless of her school degree from her country of origin. As a result, the principal enrolled Basma. ABLE also advocated for services to help Basma learn English as a second language. The school arranged for that assistance, and now Basma is on the path to high school graduation.
* This client’s name was changed to protect her privacy.