Connecticut Approves Legislative Fix
Expelled Students Gain Increased Access to Alternative Education
Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy has signed legislation addressing many of the core concerns raised in Alicia B. v. Dannel Malloy, a lawsuit brought by the Center for Children’s Advocacy (CCA), the National Center for Youth Law (NCYL), and K&L Gates LLP through its pro bono program. The lawsuit contends that expelled children receive an unacceptably inferior education in violation of Connecticut’s constitutional guarantee of a right to education.
The lawsuit also alleged that the sub-standard alternative education offered to expelled children, who are disproportionately students of color, violates equal protection guarantees of both the state and U.S. Constitutions.
The bill signed by Governor Malloy, Public Act 16-147 – Recommendations of the Juvenile Justice Policy Oversight Committee, requires the state to provide 180 days of instruction of at least five hours per day, to any student under 16 years old expelled from school, just as the state provides for all other students. The same requirement is also set for students 16 to 18 years old who have been expelled for the first time. And, the bill also provides for a minimum five-day notice for expulsion hearings.
The legislation does not address the equal protection concerns raised in the lawsuit and the litigation team continues to explore ways to address the racial disparities in Connecticut’s expulsion practices. In addition, we continue to seek relief for our individual plaintiffs.