SPLC Announces Partnerships to Prevent Student Dropout, Incarceration

The SPLC will partner with the Native American Disability Law Center in Farmington, N.M., and the Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County in West Palm Beach, Fla., as part of a campaign to keep children in school and out of the juvenile justice system.  


Each organization will receive $50,000 a year from the SPLC for up to three years to assist the groups as they work to improve the quality of educational and support services for students with disabilities in their communities.


The partnerships are part of the SPLC’s broader effort to prevent student dropout and to reform school discipline practices that unnecessarily push students out of school and into the juvenile justice system.


“We are delighted to partner with two organizations dedicated to improving the quality of education for the children in their communities,” said Jerri Katzerman, deputy legal director for the SPLC. “The Native American Disability Law Center and the Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County are strong advocates for children.”


The partnerships also will focus on reforming harsh school discipline practices that contribute to student dropout. Students with disabilities are particularly at risk of being harmed by these policies when they do not receive adequate educational and support services from their schools.


The Native American Disability Law Center works to protect the legal rights of Native Americans with disabilities. It serves the Navajo and Hopi Nations in northwest New Mexico, northeast Arizona and southeast Utah. The Legal Aid Society of Palm Beach County is dedicated to ensuring equal access to the justice system for the economically disadvantaged and traditionally underserved residents of Palm Beach County, Fla.


The SPLC is dedicated to reforming school and juvenile justice systems that derail young lives. These efforts, which include litigation and grassroots campaigns, are focused on Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi – four of the states where children are most at risk of being pushed out of school and ending up in the juvenile justice system.