Marcus* had a difficult childhood. His father was incarcerated when he was young, and his mother has significant mental health and substance abuse issues. Marcus and his siblings grew up experiencing physical and sexual abuse. Marcus did not receive any treatment for the trauma he experienced until he was already a teenager. Once he became a KidsVoice client, Marcus was diagnosed with ADHD and received an IEP to address his difficulty concentrating, his need for emotional supports, and his anger management issues.

When Marcus turned 15, his mother faced criminal charges, his father unexpectedly died, and Marcus was transferred to a new, specialized school designed to better provide the full-time emotional supports he needs. The confluence of events was especially challenging for Marcus, and he acted out. Marcus was involved in an altercation at school that resulted in a three-day suspension.

At the end of his suspension, the school informed Marcus that he was no longer welcome to return. The school did not follow appropriate procedures for making this decision, and the school administration did not inform Marcus’ home school district of its decision. This left Marcus with no school to attend.

KidsVoice quickly reached out to the school district to address this situation. While the home school district recognized that the decision to permanently expel Marcus was incorrectly made, they did not act quickly to provide a remedy. Eventually, they did provide another school placement, but in the interim, Marcus missed weeks of school—a setback not just in terms of education, but also in terms of the essential services that he was due to receive.

KidsVoice advocated for the school district to provide compensatory educational funds to aid Marcus in making up for the time he had missed. After negotiation to avoid a due process complaint that KidsVoice was preparing to file, the district agreed to make a $6,500 fund available for Marcus to pay for education-related services.

Our pro bono partners at PNC were involved in preparing the final agreements, and an attorney at PNC is now serving at no cost as administrator of these funds. As a start, Marcus plans to use these funds to provide additional tutoring.

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