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Youth and Education Law Project


Civil Litigation Matters

  • The Youth & Education Law Project of Stanford Law School's Mills Legal Clinic and the law firm of Bingham McCutchen are representing children and their families in a historic lawsuit that was filed on May 20, 2010 against the State of California.

  • YELP is lead counsel in a class action lawsuit filed in 1996 against the California Department of Education (CDE) and the Ravenswood City School District (the District) seeking to reform the District's special education service delivery system and the CDE's monitoring and oversight system in the District. Specifically, after witnessing the District's failure to properly identify children with disabilities, assess those children, and provide them with a free and appropriate education in the least restrictive environment, a group of eight named plaintiffs brought the Emma C.

  • Limited jurisdiction of the court continuing On August, 31, 2007, YELP celebrated a significant victory when United States District Court Judge Jeffrey White (N.D. Cal.) approved a comprehensive settlement agreement in a complex disability and educational rights matter.

  • When D.J., a student with significant mobility and visual impairments, was a 16 year-old sophomore, he had difficulty accessing parts of the high school facilities and much of his curriculum due to his disabilities.

  • In a closely watched civil rights lawsuit involving the Berkeley Unified School District, YELP and its co-counsel, Legal Services for Children, Inc. and Bingham McCutchen LLP, achieved a notable settlement for students of color who were subject to unlawful school discipline procedures. Under the agreement, African American and Latino students, who filed the federal class action lawsuit in August 2004 for being wrongfully expelled from Berkeley High School were allowed to return to classes.

Special Education Cases

  • A 9th-grade special education student of color faced expulsion from school, which would have been catastrophic.

  • Suicidal teenager who had been bullied and tormented at school finds relief in a therapeutic residential school placement. 

  • A 14-year-old boy in the 8th grade who is deaf struggles with langauge barriers, depression, and family strife: he comes from a caring, but very low-income, single-parent home, and has witnessed incredible domestic violence.

  • 10-year-old Evan V. has very serious mental health conditions and requires the expertise and supervision of a therapeutic day treatment class to attend school safely.

  • YELP helps a 3rd-grade student with an intellectual disability who had been singled out and secluded for hours at a time in a teacher-made "cave" in his classroom.

  • Clinic students opened the doors for Ibrahim R.* to the public school for the deaf, after months of failed negotiations between the parents and school.

  • For several months, Dina M.,* a preschool student with autism, was denied the critical Applied Behavioral Analysis and speech and language therapies specified in her education plan under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.

  • Ariana R.* was in grave danger of hurting herself during school hours until YELP stepped in and helped to get her into a safe, secure, therapeutic school.

  • Martin S.*, a teenage refugee from a war-torn country, went more than a year without critical and lawful mental health services, costing him more than a year of his education and landing him in the juvenile justice system.

  • Enrique P.* did not start speaking until he was five years old and was far behind his classmates, but his school district resolutely refused to assess him for a possible disability until YELP got involved.

School Discipline Cases

  • YELP ensures a student-athelete senior gets to graduate with his class, instead of getting expelled and having to find another way to complete high school.

  • YELP heads off a student headed for the school-to-prison pipeline and secures alternate placement and services in the nick of time.

  • Stephanie Ahmad (’11) and Sean Hassan (’11) represented a 10th grade student, L.A., in an expulsion matter. L.A. punched another student at the behest of his older brother. Despite the fact that L.A. had no prior disciplinary incident on his record, the school and school district took an extremely harsh stance, recommending that he be expelled for hitting the other student.

  • YELP successfully averted a "zero-tolerance" policy expulsion in favor of a 15-year-old 9th grader. Less than two months into her new school setting, A.V. was charged with felonious possession of a weapon on school grounds and placed in expulsion proceedings. However, the weapon had been placed in her backpack, unbeknownst to her and the student responsible for it later removed it from her backpack.

  • YELP achieved a recent success in reaching an agreement with the Berkeley Unified School District that allows their client, who had been recommended for expulsion, to complete his senior year of high school and receive a diploma from Berkeley High while fulfilling his credits through Independent Study.

  • Seventeen-year-old Y.J. is an 11th grade special education student attending high school in the San Lorenzo District. In November 2009, she was suspended from high school. Although Y.J. has a learning disability and an individualized education plan, the District found that her behavior was not a manifestation of her disability and initiated expulsion proceedings against her.

  • F.O. is a 16-year-old product of neglect of the school system, which over the years has allowed him to slowly drop from performing at the 50th percentile on standardized tests to between the first and fifth percentiles, because of unrecognized learning disabilities.

  • YELP clinic student Christine Sebourn ('08) worked swiftly to prevent the expulsion of A. R., a 7-year-old student with autism spectrum disorder.

  • YELP students Jenna Sheldon-Sherman ('11) and Luke Weiger ('10) represented fifteen-year-old, A.F., in reenrolling in high school after being denied admission for over 2 months.

  • YELP students Adanna Love ('11) and Stephanie Ahmad ('11) represented a seventh grade student, T.F., in expulsion proceedings after she was found in possession of a small amount of marijuana.