Right to Education Project

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Legal Aid NC Helpline

Toll-Free: 1 (866) 219-LANC (5262)

8:30 AM – 4:00 PM, Monday – Friday
5:30 PM – 8:30 PM, Monday & Thursday

Apply for free help with civil (non-criminal) legal issues. Those 60 and older should call the Senior Helpline.

The Right to Education Project (REP) is a statewide project of Legal Aid of North Carolina that focuses on serving children in the public education system. REP cases involve: short-term suspension; long-term suspension; expulsion; involuntary transfers to alternative school; denial of enrollment; discrimination on the basis of race, national origin, sex or disability; mistreatment by school security personnel; special education; bullying; and academic failure.

In addition to providing direct legal services to clients, REP provides community education in the form of publications, presentations, trainings, and media outreach, and collaborates with other organizations and individuals working for education justice.

To request a presentation or training, contact REP Managing Attorney Jen Story by email or by phone at 919-226-5921.

To be eligible for services from REP, a child must live in a household with an income not more than 187 percent of the federal poverty level, or live in foster care. Legal Aid of North Carolina screens all applicants to determine if they meet financial and other requirements for service.

Watch Right to Education’s Advocacy videos. Find more resources in the Education section of our website.

  • Education Advocacy in Action: A Toolkit for Parents, Students, Caregivers, and Youth Justice Stakeholders –  This toolkit includes information about your student’s education rights. It also contains additional tips and tools you can use to ensure students get all the support they need and to which they are legally entitled.  You can use this toolkit to assist in your advocacy efforts on behalf of your students, and/or you can share it directly with other families for them to use in advocating for their children.  Specific topics covered in the toolkit include:
    • School enrollment;
    • Intervention plans for struggling students, including MTSS and other regular education interventions as well as 504 Plans;
    • Special education;
    • School discipline;
    • Bullying; and
    • Options for exercising and enforcing students’ legal rights.
  • Education Advocacy Issue-Spotting Guide: It can be difficult to know what your education rights are or where to start when your student is struggling in school.  We created this issue-spotting guide to help you determine when your student’s rights may have been violated and what steps you can take to learn more about those rights and how to advocate for them. This guide is a companion to, and is also included in, REP’s Education Advocacy in Action Toolkit.

Part 1: Overcoming Barriers to School Enrollment

Download the PowerPoint

Part 2: Parent Power 101

Download the PowerPoint

Part 3: Zealous Advocacy in Special Education

Download the PowerPoint

Part 4: Understanding MTSS and How it Can Support Your Student

Part 5: Legal & Restorative Strategies to Address Bullying

Part 6: Creative Strategies to Combat School Discipline

In these fact sheets for Wake, Durham and Guilford County Schools, we report on school district demographics and opportunity gaps for certain groups of students in the 2017-18 school year. The fact sheets highlight the disproportionality of how school districts serve and punish students in the areas of academic achievement, school discipline and policing, and court involvement. The fact sheets report on the opportunity gaps of students in these districts by looking at the factors of race, disability, economic disadvantage and language. We also spotlight the practice of Disciplinary Reassignment and dive into academic and discipline disproportionality data for “alternative” district schools. Data from the fact sheets was mostly drawn from NC Department of Public Instruction and county public record requests.