Case of L.A.

Stephanie Ahmad (’11) and Sean Hassan (’11) represented a 10th grade student, L.A., in an expulsion matter. L.A. punched another student at the behest of his older brother. Despite the fact that L.A. had no prior disciplinary incident on his record, the school and school district took an extremely harsh stance, recommending that he be expelled for hitting the other student. An average student, L.A. aspires to go to college, and the expulsion, with an accompanying placement in an alternative community school until 2011, would have more than likely taken L.A. off the college track.

Moreover, L.A.’s father was deeply concerned that a placement in an alternative school for an extended period of time would expose L.A. to negative influences. L.A.’s father wanted to avoid this, given that he spent nearly 4 years in state prison and that L.A.’s grandfather died in prison after serving 31 years of a life sentence. In his words, he “wanted to break the cycle, starting with his kids.” The clinic students successfully negotiated a stipulated suspended expulsion with the District which allowed L.A. to transfer to a school of his choice within the school District beginning the following academic year.  They also negotiated the opportunity for L.A. to attend summer school in the District. L.A.  completed his spring 2010 semester at the alternative community school, and the students continued to advise the family so that L.A. wouldn’t fall behind on the credits he needed to enroll in a four-year university upon graduation.