OCTOBER 13, 2017
Federal Judge Rules Cuffing of Young Elementary Students Unconstitutional
Covington, KY- Oct. 13, 2017- The Federal District Court Judge presiding over S.R. et. al v. Kenton County issued an opinion Wednesday granting the child-Plaintiffs motion for summary judgment, ruling that the cuffing of two students with disabilities by a school resource officer was an unconstitutional seizure and excessive force in violation of the Fourth Amendment. The Court also ruled that Kenton County is liable for the deputy sheriff’s unconstitutional conduct.
“Even as young children, both were certain that what the deputy did to them was wrong” said Rickell Howard Smith, litigation director for the Children’s Law Center and counsel for the child-Plaintiffs. “I am glad to be able to tell them that the federal judge agrees with them.”
The children, an 8-year-old boy and a 9-year-old girl were handcuffed above the elbow behind their backs. A disturbing video shows the boy, S.R., crying out in pain. The girl, L.G, was twice handcuffed above the elbow, also causing her pain. Both children were being punished for behavior related to their disabilities.
“We are gratified that the judge found, as a matter of law, that this was a violation of the 4th Amendment” said Claudia Center, senior staff attorney for the ACLU Disability Rights Program. “We knew this was unconstitutional behavior. Anyone who viewed the video could see it was tantamount to torture.”
The lawsuit was filed in August 2015 by the Children’s Law Center, Dinsmore & Shohl, and the American Civil Liberties Union, which prompted a Department of Justice (DOJ) investigation into the school districts disciplinary practices, including the use of police to deal with routine student misbehavior. In January 2017, Covington Independent Schools entered into an agreement with DOJ and began implementing new policies to ensure that disciplinary practices do not discriminate against children with disabilities.
"This is a great day for our clients and the elementary school children of Kentucky” said Kenyon Meyer of Dinsmore Shohl. “The court confirmed that using law enforcement tactics to discipline young children in this manner has no place in our schools."
A copy of the decision can be found at www.childrenslawky.org. For more information, contact: Rickell Howard or Acena Beck, Children's Law Center, 859-431-3313, email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org Kenyon Meyer, Dinsmore & Shohl, 502-540-2300, email@example.com Claudia Center, ACLU, (415) 343-0762, firstname.lastname@example.org Susan Mizner, ACLU, 646-421-9387, email@example.com
See the opinion HERE
SEPTEMBER 29, 2017
CLC’S Holiday Fundraiser Performance at Ensemble Theatre
November 26, 2017 | 1:00 p.m. | Ensemble Theatre |1127 Vine St, Cincinnati, OH 45202
Each year, Children’s Law Center acquires all seating in Ensemble Theatre Cincinnati for one special dress rehearsal performance. CLC sells sponsorships and seating to this fun-filled event and many purchasers donate their tickets back so they can be given as free tickets to clients of various children’s service agencies throughout Greater Cincinnati!
Click here to purchase tickets, sponsorships, and to find out more details!
SEPTEMBER 18, 2017
Save the Date: Kim Brooks Tandy Roast & Toast
Join us for a night of blues, bourbon, and barbecue as we honor Kim Brooks Tandy, founder and former executive director at the Children's Law Center! Watch friends and colleagues "roast" Kim (all in good fun, of course!) while we "toast" to her achievements.
Click here to purchase tickets, sponsorships, and find out more details!
SEPTEMBER 15, 2017
Local Civil Rights Lawyer and Reform Advocate Wins Prestigious Fellowship In Youth Justice
Rickell Howard, Ohio Litigation and Policy Director of Children’s Law Center, has been chosen to be a Fellow in the Youth Justice Leadership Institute. The Institute is a prestigious national fellowship program run by the National Juvenile Justice Network (NJJN) in Washington, DC for juvenile justice reform advocates. Applications to the year-long leadership development program—which is targeted at advocates of color—are extremely competitive and only ten people are selected nationally each year.
Although communities of color are generally those most heavily-impacted by juvenile justice policies, advocates of color are surprisingly underrepresented in reformer leadership. The Youth Justice Leadership Institute seeks to address this imbalance by offering fellowships to develop the leadership and advocacy skills of people of color who are in the youth justice field.
“It is both an honor and privilege to be selected to be part of this year’s Youth Justice Leadership Institute,” said Rickell Howard. “I look forward to learning from national leaders in juvenile justice reform and using new strategies to affect positive changes for youth and families in Hamilton County.” Over the next year, Rickell Howard will complete an advocacy project centered on reducing racial disparities in Hamilton County’s Juvenile Justice System.
“There’s a critical need to develop strong and effective leaders of color in the youth justice movement,” said Diana Onley-Campbell, who coordinates the national program for NJJN. “We believe that the voices and leadership of individuals of color are crucial tools in reforming the biased juvenile justice system and will help build a fairer, more equitable and developmentally appropriate juvenile justice system for all youth and families.
JULY 7, 2017
CLC Gets Funded to Start New Pro Se Clinic In Kentucky
Children's Law Center has been granted generous funding from the Kentucky Bar Foundation to start a Pro Se Custody Clinic in Campbell County and Jessamine County. At each clinic, participants will be provided with all legal documents required for a child custody action filing. Pro Bono attorneys will provide an overview of the child custody process, answer questions, and offer procedural advice. Law students will assist participants with completing and filing the legal documents. We are very excited about this new project. Thank you to the KBF for making it possible!