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Lauren Delvaux-Tochner and Chris Laidig

April 25, 2017

Children’s Rights Clinic Successfully Defends Two At-Risk Students

Southwestern’s Children’s Rights Clinic has recently scored two victories resulting in positive outcomes for a pair of at-risk children both facing expulsion in their respective cases.

Students Chris Laidig and Lauren Delvaux-Tochner successfully represented a disabled student at a school discipline hearing. The child, who suffers from ADHD and PTSD resulting from an abusive upbringing and whose father is in prison for life for a gang-related murder, was recommended for expulsion for bringing marijuana to school after having been pressured to do so by an older student. The child, realizing in the moment that this was a poor choice, took the marijuana to the bathroom to dispose of it where he was caught doing so. At the hearing, he received tremendous support from friends, family and teachers, with each supporter outspokenly attesting to the child’s decency and otherwise good behavior. Due to the effective advocacy of these two students, this young man will not be expelled, rather, he will be transferred to another school and there will be no expulsion on his record.

In a separate case, Sarah Jordan and Grace Pak victoriously defended a young boy who was being bullied at school and, in an act of desperate recourse, threatened the bully in hopes of scaring him away. The boy had never gotten into trouble prior to this incident and was unaccustomed to handling the pressure being placed on him by the bully. At the hearing, Jordan and Pak conceded that this child made a mistake, but were able to effectively demonstrate that, aside from this isolated incident, he had never experienced trouble with the law or engaged in disruptive or violent behavior while at school. The District decided to allow him to enroll in a different school and place him on a suspended enforcement of the expulsion. This was a significant victory for the young boy who would otherwise have been placed at a school that would have likely turned him into a juvenile delinquent.

All of these students benefitted from working under the supervision of Professor Jenny Rodriguez-Fee on these cases. Congratulations to all involved on impacting the lives of children in need.