Causes: Law & Jurisprudence
Mission: School justice project (sjp) is a legal services and advocacy organization serving older students with special education needs who are involved in dc's justice systems. Sjp's mission is to use special education law to ensure that older, court-involved students with disabilities can access a quality education. We envision a world where all students have meaningful access to a quality education. Sjp's education attorneys work with their clients to protect and enforce special education rights.
Programs: Direct representation program: sjp provides legal representation and advocacy in special education matters to older, court-involved district of columbia students with disabilities. Through the provision of legal counsel, sjp aims to fully understand the perspective of each student. Sjp attorneys work collaboratively with clients to set and accomplish individual client goals and enforce educational and civil rights, working to ensure access to educational opportunities for each client.
systemic advocacy & policy program: sjp works to change the policy framework in which students' education services are delivered. Through advocacy, high impact litigation, partnerships, and coalition building, sjp works to identify the sources of the problems that push students with disabilities from school to prison. Through experience and lessons learned from sjp's direct representation program, sjp works to identify and propose solutions to dismantle key barriers to education attainment. This program strives to address lack of access to resources and programs for older, court-involved students with disabilities as well as the system-wide lack of enforcement of special education law. The specific purposes of this program include: 1) highlighting interagency gaps; 2) framing the problem and disseminating solutions; 3) collaborating with stakeholders to identify and implement solutions; and 4) improving educational outcomes through broad-based policy and legal reform.
community outreach & legal training program (colt): sjp works to disseminate information about the barriers to education for older, court-involved students with disabilities. Sjp also administers a training program on integrating special education law in the juvenile and criminal contexts. With a wide range of groups in d. C. And other jurisdictions requesting trainings, sjp has built vast knowledge around the core competencies needed to understand and advocate within the intersection of special education and criminal law.