TLS: When did you join this organization?
AK: I joined SDAS as 1L last year. Getting involved with SDAS was actually one of the reasons why I was excited about coming to Temple. I knew that I was interested in education law and this organization is a great way to learn the basics. I had looked up the program before coming to the school and made sure to sign up at the student activities fair.
TLS: Why did you decide to join this group?
AK: I chose to get involved with SDAS because it is a great way to interact with the community that I hope to work with in the future (students in the public school system and their families). I also was looking for a way to do some community service during my time here at Temple.
TLS: What is your organization’s mission?
AK: The organization operates in three schools in the Philadelphia area (University of Pennsylvania, Drexel, and Temple) with Temple serving as the organization’s hub/command center. We aid students in the School District of Philadelphia through the disciplinary transfer process. Students who must attend a disciplinary transfer hearing contact our intake line for guidance about the process. We then send an advocate to the hearings with these students and their families to help them to navigate the process.
TLS: Can you tell us about a recent or annual event that your organization hosted?
AK: We have a symposium every Spring. It is typically a panel that discusses a topic related to schools/school discipline. Last year the topic was the intersection between special education and school discipline. The year before was on Zero Tolerance laws and guidance. We are still nailing down a topic this year, but the event will likely be in April.
TLS: What do you gain as a law student from your involvement in this organization?
AK: Being an advocate with SDAS helps you directly interact with the people in the Philadelphia community and help guide them through a difficult, often nerve-wracking, experience. In my experience, it has served as a reminder of why I came to law school: to work closely with community members to demystify the legal world.