For the next few weeks over the holiday season, we’ll be bringing you stories of the
work made possible by the BBF’s John & Abigail Adams Benefit. Each year,
this event brings together over 900 members of the Boston legal community who
share a common belief that everyone deserves justice and that together, and as
lawyers, we can make a difference in the lives of those less
& Abigail Adams Benefit will be held on January 25, 2014 at the Museum of
Fine Arts. Nearly $550,000 has already been raised for this year’s event.
Support the cause by purchasing your ticket today, or enlist your firm’s support
as a sponsor of the event.
Meet Danny – a 13-year-old African
American boy who lives in Dorchester. Danny has special education needs,
and since kindergarten has been attending a suburban school through
the METCO program. In the past couple of years, Danny started to
display some troubling behavior – stealing from the school’s athletic program
and making up stories of bullying that were proven false. While those working
closest with Danny felt his special education needs were at the root of these
behavorial struggles, the superintendent of the school district and the special
education director suggested to Danny’s mother that she should withdraw him and
he should return to Boston Public Schools. Danny’s mother refused, and
when the school district threatened to press charges for the thefts, she called
the EdLaw Project.
For four months, the suburban school
district refused to change their position and insisted that Danny could no longer
be appropriately served in their district. During this time, The
EdLaw Project helped Danny’s family secure a private independent
neuropsychological evaluation. The resulting report explained how Danny’s co-occurring
diagnoses of ADHD, anxiety, and a learning disability made it difficult for him
to process situations and control his impulsive responses. The doctors
concluded that Danny had the potential to be successful in his current school
placement, and offered strong and specific recommendations about what the school
needed to do to enable Danny to succeed.
The EdLaw Project was able to use this evaluation to
successfully advocate for a new plan for Danny, and he was allowed to continue
his placement in the school district, but in a classroom focused on children
with a similar learning profile. Danny’s report card came out recently and he
has made the honor roll! His teachers wrote that his conduct is excellent,
his attitude positive, and that he is a pleasure to have in class.
The Boston Bar Foundation provides funding to the EdLaw Project of the
Children’s Law Center, which works to promote and secure equal justice and to
maximize opportunity for low-income children and youth by providing quality
advocacy and legal services. EdLaw fills a glaring gap in legal aid to
high-risk, mostly court-involved youth by providing educational legal advocacy
to ensure that they remain in school, are in the right school, and are on pace
to graduate. BBF funding is dedicated to removing impediments many urban
youth encounter in securing the educations that most youth take for granted.
Visit www.bostonbarfoundation.org to
learn more about our grants in the community.