In January, Cedar Law PLLC’s founding partners, Lara Hruska and Chris Williams, spoke at the launch event for KEEP (Kienan Ellis Education Project). KEEP was founded by a former Cedar Law client with the vision of creating a public-defender-like system for school discipline in Seattle. The non-profit connects students facing exclusionary discipline with an attorney-volunteer to represent them through the discipline process. The ultimate goal is to combat racial disproportionality in exclusionary discipline and fight the school-to-prison pipeline at its source.
In addition to combatting exclusionary discipline, attorneys representing these students also help identify services that the students need, correct defects in the delivery of IEP and 504 accommodations, and recommend ways to prevent the behavior that caused the disciplinary referral in the first place. Facilitating the successful re-entry of the student back into school is also an important part of this representation. Rather than only reviewing whether there are grounds to overturn the discipline, KEEP’s volunteer attorneys provide support and advocacy for students who may need additional supports at school so they know that they have someone in their corner fighting for them, at a time when many students feel targeted and isolated.
Cedar Law will be administering the operations for KEEP, maintaining a cadre of volunteer attorneys, and providing training and support as needed to the attorneys representing these students.
If you are an attorney looking to volunteer with KEEP, please send an email expressing interest to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are a parent/advocate for a student facing exclusionary discipline in a Seattle school, you can email email@example.com or submit your contact information and additional details at www.keep-wa.org/contact-8 to be paired with an attorney.