CLE strives to make the right of all students to a quality education a reality.


CLE seeks to protect the right of youth to remain in school through the development of materials designed for advocacy and collaborative strategies, training, and ongoing support.  We rely upon an expanded network of advocates, including pro bono counsel, to protect students’ rights and to reduce the removal of students from instruction as a result of disciplinary exclusion or police and court referral in response to school-related behavior. CLE also collaborates with members of the school community- administrators, teachers, parents,  students,  other stakeholders – (1) to address policies and practices that adversely affect the school climate, target students based on race, ethnicity, gender, disability, undermine learning,  push-out or encourage students to drop out of school; and (2) to ensure that school and district level policy changes are adopted and implemented.

CLE established a model Pro Bono Education Project in 2008, to provide high quality legal representation to students of color and from low-income families who are disproportionately excluded from school through suspension, expulsion, and criminalization of behavior by referrals to law enforcement.  The project draws upon CLE’s significant experience representing students in administrative due process hearing.  Examples of CLE’s work on school discipline (PDF).

Download the ABA Resolution 118B: Right to Remain in School (PDF) This resolution by the ABA calls for improving laws and implementing and enforcing policies that will help advance students’ right to remain in school, including by promoting a safe and supportive school environment, proactively addressing problems leading to students leaving school through dropping out or disciplinary exclusion or involvement with the juvenile justice system.

Pleadings and Memoranda

Center for Law and Education and Choate, Hall & Stewart Successfully Challenge “Zero Tolerance” School Weapons Policy (PDF) Press release.

Camreta v. Greene, amicus curiae on petition of cert., for the Center for Law and Education, Learning Rights Law Center, Chicago Coalition for the Homelesss, PACER Center, Parents United for Responsible Education, Winston & Strawn, LLP, Jan. 2011 (PDF) CLE joins amici curiae in arguing that public schools should not be places “in which student privacy interests are significantly compromised for purposes of custodial police/CPS interrogations,” that children do not have reduced Fourth Amendment protections when on school grounds for government purposes unrelated to school, and that using public schools for this purpose has many negative effects for both children and law enforcement officers/CPS workers.

Doe v. Town of Weston, SJC-10981 (sua sponte), amicus curiae for CLE and Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race & Justice, Harvard Law School, Joanne S. Karger, Kathleen B. Boundy, March 31, 2011 (PDF) This brief argues that the trial court did not abuse its discretion in denying deference to Weston’s decision to expel Doe under M.G.L. c. 71, § 37H because Weston lacked adequate evidentiary basis to support the expulsion decision. The 30 page brief provides advocates for students with an extensive review of due process rights of students and the importance of weighing the Mathews v. Eldridge factors.

Goodwin v. Lee Public Schools et. al, SJC-11977, amicus curiae for CLE and the Children’s Law Center of Massachusetts, Feb 2016 (PDF). This brief argues that LPS violated the plain language of G.L. c. 17 s. 37H 1/2(1), and G.L. c. 71 s. 37H 1/2(1) as applied, by suspending Ms. Goodwin when neither a felony complaint nor felony delinquency complaint had been issued against her. The brief includes an extended discussion about the correct due process procedures a school must provide a student the school is seeking to suspend unnder G.L c. 71, s. 37H 1/2(1). The case decision from the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts can be read here