2013 Equal Justice Works Fellow, Thayer Hardwick

Thayer Hardwick

Name of Host Organization: Children's Law Center
City, State: Washington, District of Columbia
Issue area: Children/Youth
Sponsors: Arnold & Porter Foundation

The Project

Thayer advocated for school safety, mental health services, and special education for bullying victims in DC public schools through outreach, training, mentoring, policy reform, and direct representation.

The Inspiration

Need Addressed By Project: 
Bullying is a widespread problem among youth, disproportionately affecting children with special needs, language minority children, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning youth. Studies have shown that bullying is linked to long-term negative outcomes, including increased rates of suicide, decreased academic achievement, school absences, and poor physical and mental health. By law, DC public schools are required to provide a safe learning environment for each student. However, without legal assistance, low-income parents must interpret the patchwork of relevant laws alone. This project addresses the issue of bullying by providing legal advocacy and direct representation to parents of bullying victims to ensure school safety and access to mental health and special education services.
Fellowship Highlights: 
During her Fellowship, Thayer has:
• Directly represented 53 families in cases that involve bullying, special education, mental health, and public benefits
• Provided brief advice, brief services, legal and non-legal referrals and other information to 73 individuals in matters ranging from special education, bullying, and mental health law to housing, public benefits, and custody
• Provided trainings to parents, pediatricians, mental health providers, judges, and other attorneys on bullying and other areas of law that frequently affect our clients in the District of Columbia
• Served as a member of the District of Columbia Youth Bullying Prevention Task Force
• Partnered with local organizations to improve knowledge of bullying laws in the District of Columbia
• Advocated for improved regulations regarding bullying in the District of Columbia

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