Whitewood v. Wolf – A Case for the Freedom to Marry

By Ben Bowens & Molly Tack-Hooper, ACLU of Pennsylvania

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For more information about the case and FAQs, please visit aclupa.org/whitewood

Fairness and Accountability in School Discipline

By Harold Jordan, Community Organizer, ACLU of Pennsylvania

Harold Jordan

Harold Jordan

On April 11, 2014, the School Discipline Advocacy Service (SDAS) held a symposium, “Fairness and Accountability in School Discipline: Using the Dignity in Schools Campaign’s Model Code to Improve School Climate in Philadelphia’s Charter Schools.” I was one of the featured speakers. SDAS is a coalition of law students who advocate for Philadelphia students facing suspension, transfer, or expulsions, both in the school district and in charter schools.

My presentation focused on how to achieve fairness and accountability in charter school discipline. Charters are privately-managed, but publically-funded schools that are run independently of the regular school system. This feature makes public accountability more challenging, especially in the areas of student discipline and student placement. I explained that charters are not exempt from the Constitution, some state education laws, and the federal school discipline guidance.

SDAS is a coalition of law students who advocate for Philadelphia students facing suspension, transfer, or expulsion, both in the School District and in charter schools.

SDAS is a coalition of law students who advocate for Philadelphia students facing suspension, transfer, or expulsion, both in the School District and in charter schools.

Other featured speakers were Matt Cregor of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Economic Justice (Boston) and David Lapp of the Education Law Center of Pennsylvania. The presentations were followed by a community panel of charter school administrators, student groups, and teacher activists organizing on the ground to effect change. Some 100 persons participated in the symposium.

Mayor Nutter Signs Executive Order Ending ICE Detainers in Philadelphia

By Molly Tack-Hooper, Staff Attorney, ACLU of Pennsylvania

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Today Mayor Nutter signed an executive order directing Philadelphia detention facilities not to imprison people for the federal immigration authorities (“ICE”) without a judicial warrant. Because ICE does not routinely obtain judicial warrants to support its detainer requests (also known as “immigration holds” or “ICE holds”), the new policy will effectively put an end to ICE holds in Philadelphia.

The policy change is the result of sustained advocacy by immigrant rights groups, including the ACLU, to limit police cooperation with civil immigration authorities. The ACLU testified before City Council earlier this month that ICE routinely issues detainer requests without sufficient justification, and that honoring ICE detainer requests jeopardizes the safety and constitutional rights of everyone in the community.

RELATED LINKS:

Galarza v. Szalczyk, et al.

ACLU Written Testimony on Detainers