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School Law MCLE Mtg: School Discipline Reform and Students with Disabilities
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When: Thursday, December 7
11:45 lunch, 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm Presentation
Where: Attorney Resource Center
505 N. County Farm Rd
3rd Floor
Wheaton, Illinois  60187
United States
Presenter: Miranda Johnson and Amanda Klemas
Contact: Cindy Allston

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School Law MCLE - School Discipline Reform and Students with Disabilities


Date: Thursday,December 7, 2017


Time: 11:45 lunch, 12:00-1:00 Presentation



This presentation will review recent school disciplinary reform legislation in Illinois as well as federal and state disciplinary protections for students with disabilities.  The speakers will describe ways in which these separate sets of legal provisions intersect and the implications for reducing suspensions, expulsions and disciplinary transfers of students with disabilities.  The speakers will also highlight recent state data related to school discipline of students with disabilities.


Learning Objectives:

1.      Participants will gain knowledge about recent state law changes related to school discipline.

2.      Participants will build their understanding of federal and state procedural protections related to students with disabilities.

3.      Participants will understand the linkages between school discipline reforms in Illinois and the procedural protections of students with disabilities.

4.      Participants will gain knowledge about the disproportionate impact of school discipline practices on students with disabilities nationally and in Illinois.


Speakers: Miranda Johnson of Loyola University Chicago School of Law and Amanda Klemas of Equip for Equality



Miranda Johnson is a faculty member at Loyola University Chicago School of Law and the director of Loyola’s Education Law and Policy Institute. She teaches experiential learning classes in education law and supervises law students in the representation of parents and students in school discipline and special education cases. She has presented on prevention-oriented approaches to reduce the use of exclusionary school discipline practices at state and national conferences and training programs for attorneys, administrators and other school staff. She helped found the Transforming School Discipline Collaborative and co-authored a Model Student Code of Conduct, which is posted on the website of the Illinois State Board of Education as a resource for school districts.  Her expertise and analysis on education law and policy issues has been featured in various media, including WBEZ, Chicago TribuneWall Street Journal, Washington Post and The Hill.  


Prior to working at Loyola, Professor Johnson was a staff attorney at Advocates for Children of New York, where she practiced in the area of special education law and represented class action plaintiffs in lawsuits relating to educational equity in New York City. She previously served as a law clerk for the Honorable Allyne R. Ross, United State District Judge for the Eastern District of New York.  She has practiced law for over nine years.  Before attending law school, she taught at an alternative school for students who had not succeeded in traditional settings and conducted research in Tanzania as a Fulbright Scholar. She holds a JD from New York University School of Law, a Master in Public Affairs from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, and a Bachelor of Arts from Dartmouth College.


Amanda Klemas is a staff attorney with the Special Education Clinic at Equip for Equality, where she represents students and families in all aspects of special education and related school discipline matters.  She also participates in training and outreach activities with parents and community providers.  Previously, Amanda was an Equal Justice Works fellow and staff attorney at a non-profit organization based in Boston, Massachusetts, Massachusetts Advocates for Children, where she provided special education representation to families of children with mental health disabilities, as well as ongoing training and technical assistance to mental health providers working with low-income children and families through the Children’s Behavioral Health Initiative.  Amanda is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard Law School. 


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