Court-to-School Pipelines: Meeting Special Education Needs for Students on Juvenile Probation in New York
22 Pages Posted: 8 Aug 2019 Last revised: 9 Sep 2019
Date Written: March 1, 2019
Many children who are arrested and become involved with the juvenile justice system have learning or other educational disabilities, and are entitled to receive special education services in school. New York family court judges presiding over juvenile delinquency cases can consider a student’s educational performance when determining the outcome or disposition for the case. They can order a student with a probation disposition to attend school and comply with school rules. However, although the court can refer the student to mental health or social services outside of the school setting, the court's authority to direct educational services for a student on probation is limited. This is the case even though poor school performance can be held against the student at disposition, and even though educational services can be an important component of a plan for rehabilitation.
A student’s involvement in the juvenile justice system could represent an opportunity for enhanced educational interventions, or a "court-to-school pipeline." This article discusses several different approaches to enhancing coordination between courts and schools for students who received community-based dispositions such as probation, including 1) involving schools directly in the process; 2) notifying schools about the juvenile delinquency proceedings; 3) ordering that out-of-school educational services be provided for the student; and 4) appointing an education advocate for the student. It concludes that authorizing the court to appoint an education advocate in appropriate circumstances and allocating resources for this purpose provides a way for a student’s educational needs to be addressed without involving the court directly in the student’s educational programming, and minimizes privacy concerns.
Keywords: juvenile justice, education, students with disabilities, probation, Family Court, attorney for the child
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