Race and Justice Clinic

Tools for Social Change: Race and Justice Clinic

What can lawyers do?

The Tools for Social Change: Race and Justice Clinic (previously Race and Justice Clinic) examines and practices methods that lawyers use to respond to social problems in the context of racial disproportionality in the juvenile justice system:

The clinic responds to the systemic issues that have resulted in an increasingly disproportionate number of minority youth being excluded from school and pushed into the juvenile justice system.

  • Locking youth up: In King County, African American youth are 9 times as likely as white youth to be confined in detention or a youth prison.
  • Educational Equity: Currently, 5 school districts in Washington (including the Seattle School District) are being investigated by the Department of Education Office of Civil Rights for discriminatory practices related to school discipline and treatment of English Language Learners.

The Race and Justice Clinic addresses race in the justice system through multi-forum advocacy focusing on disparities for youth of color in the juvenile justice and education systems. Students and faculty work together to choose intervention points:

  • representing youth directly
  • providing community education
  • conducting empirical research
  • exploring policy change and impact litigation.

Examples of past projects include: Partnering with a youth organization to draft Police in Schools: Student Perceptions of School Resource Officers and drafting an Amicus brief filed in the Washington Supreme Court; representing youth in probation violation, sentencing and school discipline hearings; conducting focus groups with youth who were previously incarcerated; working on juvenile re-entry issues; educating youth in detention and attending school board and community meetings.

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