Danny is a 13-year-old African American boy who lives in Dorchester.
He has special education needs, and since kindergarten has been attending a suburban school through the METCO program. In the past couple of years, Danny started to display some troubling behavior – stealing from the school’s athletic program and making up stories of bullying that were proven false. While those working closest with Danny felt his special education needs were at the root of these behavorial struggles, the superintendent of the school district and the special education director suggested to Danny’s mother that she should withdraw him and he should return to Boston Public Schools. Danny’s mother refused, and when the school district threatened to press charges for the thefts, she called the EdLaw Project.
For four months, the suburban school district refused to change their position and insisted that Danny could no longer be appropriately served in their district. During this time, The EdLaw Project helped Danny’s family secure a private independent neuropsychological evaluation. The resulting report explained how Danny’s co-occurring diagnoses of ADHD, anxiety, and a learning disability made it difficult for him to process situations and control his impulsive responses. The doctors concluded that Danny had the potential to be successful in his current school placement, and offered strong and specific recommendations about what the school needed to do to enable Danny to succeed.
The EdLaw Project was able to use this evaluation to successfully advocate for a new plan for Danny, and he was allowed to continue his placement in the school district, but in a classroom focused on children with a similar learning profile. Danny’s report card came out recently and he has made the honor roll! His teachers wrote that his conduct is excellent, his attitude positive, and that he is a pleasure to have in class.
The Boston Bar Foundation provides funding to the EdLaw Project of the Children’s Law Center, which works to promote and secure equal justice and to maximize opportunity for low-income children and youth by providing quality advocacy and legal services. EdLaw fills a glaring gap in legal aid to high-risk, mostly court-involved youth by providing educational legal advocacy to ensure that they remain in school, are in the right school, and are on pace to graduate. BBF funding is dedicated to removing impediments many urban youth encounter in securing the educations that most youth take for granted.