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Read Geoff's Story

Geoff was in danger of being incarcerated; now he is attending a highly acclaimed private school.

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Who We Serve

Youth Involved in the Juvenile & Criminal Justice Systems

Youth Involved in the Juvenile and Criminal Justice Systems

Advocates for Children of New York (AFC)’s School Justice Project (SJP) provides case advocacy and legal representation for youth facing court involvement, school suspension, and/or emotional challenges to help resolve their education-related issues to increase their academic achievements. We work to secure appropriate school placements and educational services for youth involved in the juvenile and criminal justice systems and those in danger of dropping out, or being pushed out of school due to unfair and ineffective disciplinary policies and procedures.  The project also works to build capacity within the community by providing trainings and technical assistance to parents, young people, social service agencies, attorneys, judges, probation officers, and aftercare workers.

Policy Work

We play a leadership role in numerous coalitions and task forces in New York City addressing discipline reform and educational services for ALL youth, including the School-Justice Partnership Taskforce, chaired by the former Chief Judge of New York State, Judith Kaye.  AFC worked with Judge Kaye and the New York State Permanent Judicial Commission on Justice for Children to launch the Task Force and continues to help coordinate the project.  The Task Force brought together key stakeholders and experts from a variety of disciplines to coordinate efforts and develop recommendations to promote school engagement and reduce the flow of New York City students entering the juvenile and criminal justice systems. On May 30, 2013, the Task Force released a report, Keeping Kids in School and out of Court. The report outlines a plan of action  as well as provides specific recommendations to keep kids in school and out of court.

AFC also advocates for systemic reform with respect to school discipline and the role of New York Police Department personnel in schools. AFC is a co-founder and steering committee member of The Dignity in Schools Campaign-New York (DSC-NY), a coalition of students, parents, advocates and educators calling for positive, school-wide approaches to discipline that improve school climate and increase learning.  Our goal is to create safe and supportive school climates in all New York City public schools without the need for school police or metal detectors, where young people are not suspended and removed from class, and where teachers and students have training and support to prevent and resolve conflicts in positive ways.

Learn more about our policy agenda regarding the school-to-prison pipeline.

Guides & Resources

Litigation

J.G. v. Mills: The plaintiffs in this action claimed that upon being released from a court-ordered setting, they had been denied timely re-enrollment in New York City schools. The students claimed that court-involved youth were regularly denied the opportunity to return to school or were warehoused in alternative settings where court-involved youth are segregated and do not afford them minimally adequate educational services. The complaint also contained allegations on behalf of two subclasses: court-involved youth with disabilities and class members who did not receive adequate educational services while in detention in New York City. Learn more.

To learn about Students’ Rights under the “J. G." Settlement, click here.