LOS ANGELES - The American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California today announced David Sapp will serve as the director of education advocacy/legal counsel, a position designed to identify critical civil rights issues in California’s public schools and to help create comprehensive strategies for protecting students’ rights.
Sapp, 34, has been with ACLU SoCal since 2009 as a staff attorney, and has focused on education and juvenile justice issues. During his tenure, he has worked on numerous local and statewide advocacy campaigns focused on punitive school discipline, aggressive school policing, and education finance. He served as counsel on Casey A. v. Gundry, a case that led to the complete overhaul of education and rehabilitation programming at Los Angeles County’s largest juvenile detention center. And he worked on Doe v. State of California, which challenged the State’s failure to ensure that districts provide free public education as required by the California Constitution, and resulted in the enactment of legislation establishing a statewide accountability system to ensure school districts do not charge illegal fees.
“I have been honored to work throughout my career with clients, student and parent advocates, and community partners who have been fearless in challenging injustice and inequality in our schools,” said Sapp. “The ACLU has fought for decades to ensure that California’s most vulnerable students receive a high quality education that prepares them for college, career and citizenship. With significant changes to the state’s education governance and finance system being implemented as we speak, we will continue to fight for the transparency and accountability necessary to ensure that all students receive equal educational opportunities.”
In his new role, Sapp will monitor the implementation of the Local Control Funding Formula, which sets new rules for how California funds its schools, including allocating more money to help disadvantaged students and English learners. He also will participate in state and local discussions to ensure additional resources are directed to the state’s neediest students.
Additionally, Sapp will oversee ACLU SoCal’s continuing efforts to monitor compliance with, and strengthen the legislation and regulations implementing the landmark settlement in Williams v. State of California.
Sapp’s work is funded by the ACLU of Southern California and the ACLU Foundation of Southern California.
He replaces Brooks Allen, who left the ACLU SoCal to serve as deputy policy director and assistant legal counsel to the State Board of Education.
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