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What is the Student Rights Project (SRP)?

The Student Rights Project (SRP) is an interdisciplinary project of law, social work, and education students from the University of Michigan. SRP was founded in 2013 in response to the tremendous need for free, high quality representation and support for students facing suspension and expulsion hearings in southeast Michigan. In all our activities, SRP seeks to keep students in school, learning, and out of the criminal justice system.  Members of our organization become talented interviewers and oral advocates. They also develop zeal and cultural humility.

In addition to advocating for students in disciplinary hearings, SRP advocates also:

  • support community outreach and youth development work;
  • lobby for youth­-centered and restorative school discipline policies and laws;
  • provide targeted special education support for students facing disciplinary exclusion due to disability ­related behaviors;
  • engage in non-­hearing advocacy in disciplinary matters; and
  • host and attend events designed to educate the university and larger community about the school­-to-­prison pipeline in Michigan and best practices to oppose it.
  • challenge institutional threats to educational opportunities for children.

A centerpiece of SRP is its interdisciplinary advocacy, combining the strengths of education,  social work, and law in order to promote positive outcomes for Michigan’s youth. Our education, law, and social work advocates are valued for their contributions to student advocacy, whether that be training in client interviewing, statutory research, or helping families access community resources. For this reason, each hearing advocacy is comprised of both social work students and law students, insofar as possible.

Since our founding, SRP has partnered with the Student Advocacy Center of Michigan (SAC) in the shared drive to end the school­-to­-prison pipeline in the state. SAC is a non­profit educational advocacy organization headquartered in Ypsilanti, Michigan. SRP receives its referrals through SAC’s intake process, and our case advocacy is supervised by an SAC attorney. Each organization supports the other in our collective youth justice efforts.

Who is the Student Advocacy Center (SAC)?

As the supervising agency of SRP, The Student Advocacy Center (“SAC”) of Michigan  works to assist our most vulnerable students stay in school, realize their rights to a quality public education, and experience success. They provide education advocacy and support, education mentoring, dropout prevention and family support with a focus on economically disadvantaged youth, youth in foster care or a homeless situation, students with mental illness, youth impacted by school discipline and zero tolerance, and youth facing barriers to enrolling in or attending school. SAC was established in 1975 to focus on the educational experience of students; to identify successful practices and policies as well as the barriers to effective service. Using a strengths-based approach, they work in partnership with families, schools and community agencies to promote educational practices that result in success for students, as well as to challenge policies that may have a harmful impact on students and families.

Please visit their website at: studentadvocacycenter.org