LOS ANGELES-The American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California today announced Brooks Allen will serve as the new Director of Education Advocacy, a position designed to identify critical civil rights issues in California’s public schools and help create comprehensive strategies for protecting students’ rights.

Allen, 36, has been with the ACLU since 2004 as a statewide implementation lawyer for student plaintiffs in Williams v. California. The ACLU/SC, along with other civil rights organizations, filed a lawsuit against the state because of the terrible conditions in many of its public schools. The Williams case argued that California failed to provide thousands of public school students, particularly those in low-income communities and communities of color, with the basic necessities required for an education.

The settlement announced in 2004 requires that all students have books and that their schools be clean and safe. It takes steps to make sure that students have qualified teachers and that schools deliver these important resources to students.

“From my earliest years and throughout my career, I’ve been in and around schools,” said Brooks Allen. “Here at the ACLU, I’ve seen our legal victories transform students’ day-to-day experience across California, restoring heat to freezing classrooms, ensuring that teachers are better prepared, and putting new books into students’ hands. In at least once instance, students literally stood up and cheered as long-awaited books were delivered. Sadly, there is very little to cheer about right now. We must continue to fight to ensure our state’s budget crisis and the resulting fall out does not deprive any student of the meaningful educational opportunities required to make the promise of public education a reality."

As director, he will continue to serve as statewide implementation lawyer for student plaintiffs in Williams v. California, monitoring compliance with the legislation and regulations implementing the settlement, advocating for legislation and regulations to preserve and improve the effectiveness of settlement terms, and serving as a resource to county superintendents, state and district officials.

“I am confident Brooks will continue to strive for excellence when it comes to the education of our children,” said Ramona Ripston, executive director of ACLU/SC. “We could not have chosen a better and more dedicated individual for this important position.”

Allen will assume his new position effective immediately.