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Children in foster care encounter numerous obstacles to educational success. Among these is exclusion from school, the significance of which cannot be overstated. Multiple studies have revealed both anecdotal and statistical links between suspension and failure to graduate. Recognizing that children have protected interests in their education, in 1975 the United States Supreme Court established that students facing even short suspensions from school are entitled to due process. Children in foster care, however, are rarely in a position to ensure that their due process rights, including the right not to be excluded from school arbitrarily, are protected adequately. Given the devastating consequences of school exclusion, lawyers who represent youth in foster care or their parents must be aware of both their clients' rights and consequences of school discipline in order to minimize the risk that these children will be excluded from school unnecessarily, unjustly, or illegally. Moreover, it is essential that attorneys be prepared to advocate for their clients' educational rights in order to improve their educational outcomes.


Originally published by Temple Political & Civil Rights Law Review in 2011.

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