Education Clinic Fights for Students Left Behind by COVID
In March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic caused a seismic shift in our education system on a nationwide scale that had never seen before, and it continues to disrupt students' education today. Many Youth Justice Education Clinic’s clients were without education at all for months during the initial days of the pandemic, and they continued to struggle with lack of access to technology and special education services until schools physically reopened. The systemic failures of the education system during COVID have exacerbated an achievement gap that was present long before the pandemic for the young people we represent. Unfortunately, for young people detained in the juvenile carceral facilities, the state of the education system looks much like it did in the spring of 2020. These young people are constantly exposed to the virus and denied education access and meaningful access to counsel while in quarantine.
Through individual and policy advocacy, YJEC continues to advocate on behalf of system-involved students with disabilities who are entitled to individualized education supports in addition to compensatory education to make up for lost instruction time during the pandemic. YJEC co-facilitates the Education Justice Coalition, consisting of several member organizations who are passionate about strengthening the rights of system-involved young people and advocating for community-led accountability and oversight over education in juvenile detention facilities. With YJEC's leadership, the coalition continues to apply pressure to the Probation Oversight Commission to monitor and hold the Los Angeles County Office of Education accountable for ensuring access to education in these facilities.