Jordan Blair Woods
This article addresses manipulation of the federal Equal Access Act to allow prejudice and discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and questioning (LGBTQ) students who wish to form gaystraight alliances (GSA) in public schools. By focusing on patterns of argumentation in the recent surge of GSA litigation, this article argues that the incorporation of the constitutionally stringent standard developed by the Supreme Court in Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District into the Equal Access Act’s safe harbor exceptions is necessary to prevent courts from discriminating against LGBTQ students and from giving effect to the private homophobic and transphobic prejudices of community members, parents, and school administrators. Incorporating a more deferential reasonableness standard into the Equal Access Act’s safe harbor exceptions allows school administrators to invoke LGBTQ student safety disingenuously as a pretext to ban GSAs; thus, the exact discrimination that the Equal Access Act was designed to prohibit
Education for all children is an oft-repeated political tagline. While politicians claim to be committed to educating all children and states devote taxpayer dollars to improving public schools, education for an entire subclass of children—those with disabilities who are incarcerated in adult prisons—is suffering. These children, entitled to receive an individually-tailored education equal to that of their nonincarcerated peers, rarely receive their legal due. This article explores the failure of states to provide special education to juveniles incarcerated in adult prisons. The article examines this issue on a national level but focuses specifically on New York and Florida—two of the three states with the most juveniles incarcerated as adults—as a microcosm for the broader scope of the problem. The article proposes various ways for advocates and policymakers to attack inadequate special education in prisons.