Civil Rights Defense For Children & Students
Parents expect teaching professionals to approach their position with the reverence it deserves, taking great care to ensure their influence serves the best interest of their students. More importantly, students expect a safe environment where they can grow and learn.
The lawyers at Kennedy Kennedy & Ives don’t stop with holding individual perpetrators responsible. We recognize that broken systems allow violations to take place. Through our legal practice, we seek accountability of principals who hire and supervise teachers and superintendents who oversee school district policies. If we fail to reform systems, we fail to protect children.
Putting A Stop To The ‘School To Prison’ Pipeline
We have represented students in public schools arrested for offenses that, in other schools, are rightly handled by school administrators — including burping, refusing to hand over a cellphone and failure to attend detention.
Our efforts representing these unjustly arrested students in the Albuquerque Public Schools resulted in training and standardized protocols for resource officers. Prior to these changes, 180 students were arrested over a two-year period. During the first year of the new policies, there was only a single arrest.
On a federal level, our extensive work in this area of civil rights contributed to the Department of Justice’s possible investigation of Albuquerque’s School to Prison Pipeline. Notable in their consideration is the disproportionate rate at which students with disabilities are arrested.
Representing Youth Violated By Police Officers
Young people are often victims of abuse by police officers, but they are less likely to seek legal actions. We are devoted to working with the unique needs of young victims to accurately estimate lifetime impacts of police misconduct.
Clients like Diana Guerrero prove that with thoughtful, experienced support, it’s possible for survivors to rebuild their lives and face the future with hope. In Diana’s words:
“This sexual assault will never, ever be my shame. Thankfully, I am learning and recovering in a resilient and healthy way. I do what I can to make it through my days, whatever it takes, baby steps. I do it for myself, my family and especially all the women and men in the world who have been in my situation. I will never give up on myself again.”
In the landmark Sanchez v. Brokop case, following a $3.2 million jury verdict, the school superintendent hired our liability expert, Robert Shoop, to conduct district-wide training for principals on how to prevent sexual misconduct. This is the systemic change our legal team strives for.