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School Discipline Advocacy Service (SDAS)

The mission of School Discipline Advocacy Service is to work towards ending the school to prison pipeline by representing public school students in disciplinary proceedings, such as suspensions and transfers. Advocates work with students and their families to prevent school exclusion and protect students’ due process rights. The students we serve come from Philadelphia public schools. A third of Philadelphia’s children live below the poverty line and Philadelphia is the poorest of the nation’s ten biggest cities. The students we represent face many challenges, and under-resourced schools too often resort to exclusionary measures when dealing with behavioral issues. Philadelphia students are extremely resilient, bright, and talented. The time commitment for this project is very flexible. As a lead advocate, you pick up cases as they fit with your schedule, you spend about an hour reviewing the file and calling the family and you spend about two hours at the district office helping to prepare the family and attending the impartial hearing. Before you become a lead advocate, you will receive pro bono hours for shadowing two disciplinary hearings so you are prepared to lead. Student volunteers gain skills in interviewing clients, creating a theory of the case, and advocating for students so that their due process rights are protected and their voices are heard. 

Student volunteers have said that they love that SDAS puts the interests of students and their educational rights and needs first and that advocates work directly with students’ families to work for their best interests. Through this work, you will get to know kids and their families and you will practice legal advocacy skills.


Student Leaders

Ilana Saltz President
Jason (Seok Whee) Nam Director of Training