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Stand Up For Each Other (SUFEO) Chicago is a student-run organization that provides free information and services for K-12 students facing suspension, bullying, or exclusion from school. SUFEO law students operate a helpline, supervised by attorneys in the Civitas ChildLaw Clinic. After a brief intake, SUFEO can provide information, referrals, advice, and, in some cases, representation for K-12 students in school-based meetings, on issues such as:

  • Suspension appeals
  • Bullying complaints and investigations 
  • Safety planning meetings
  • Individualized Education Program (IEP) meetings
  • Manifestation Determination Reviews (MDRs)
  • Records appeals 

SUFEO students aim to help parents and schools work together to keep children safe and engaged in school.

SUFEO Chicago was launched in October 2014 and is modeled after the Stand Up for Each Other project in New Orleans and the Suspension Representation Project in New York City.

Are you a K-12 student, parent, or guardian who needs help understanding your school rights? Call our Helpline at 773-800-0338. Your call will be returned within 24-48 business hours. Please have the student’s school documents nearby when you call.

Community Outreach: Do you work with youth or parents who would benefit from learning about their legal rights in school? SUFEO is happy to provide your organization or your constituents with free Know Your Rights trainings either in person or virtually. Please contact our Outreach Coordinators, Sarah Bianchi and Brittany Haracz at sufeo-chicago@luc.edu.

Student Volunteers: Are you a law student looking to have direct client experience as early as your 1L year? Contact the SUFEO Board members to discuss how you can support the work of SUFEO Chicago.

2020-2021 Executive Board

NameRoleArea of InterestBefore Law SchoolLast SummerWhy SUFEO!1L Section

Summer Ardell

President Education and Disability Law I attended Colorado College for Undergrad where I studied Education and American Political Science before teaching at a residential school for middle and high schoolers with severe mental illnesses.  I interned at Hansen & Cleary, a boutique law practice representing children and families, individuals with disabilities, medical and mental health professionals, and other non-profit agencies but primarily worked on special education and disciplinary cases! My experiences as a person with Dyslexia and as a special education teacher made me passionate about helping people gain access to the resources that they need to achieve their own definition of success. Getting involved with SUFEO to help advocate for students and their families was the easiest choice of law school and I loved every minute of it! Section 3 
Lia Raves Vice President Public Interest Law I attended North Carolina State University and studied political science and sociology. I took a gap year between undergrad and law school and did a service year with AmeriCorps where I assisted pro se litigants navigate the court system in the Cook County Circuit Court. This past summer, I was a judicial extern at the Cook County Circuit Court. Additionally, I was a research assistant to two professors at Loyola. Based on my studies at NC State and experience with AmeriCorps, I realized how many people lack access to justice. I joined SUFEO because I want to advocate for youth and their families whose voices may be disproportionately silenced. I’m excited for my role as VP and to continue developing my legal and policy skills! Section 2 
Dwayne Morgan Development Coordinator Education Law and Policy New York University / Two years songwriting in Nashville (It's a long story) As I’m originally from NC, I attended the University of North Carolina Wilmington. While there, I majored in English Education. After graduating, I moved to Charlotte NC where I taught English Education for three years before coming to Chicago for law school. I was an intern with the ACLU-IL. I had the opportunity to work through a diverse range of research and writing assignments with the organization’s Women’s & Reproductive Rights and Police Practices and Racial Justice projects. Section 2
Joyce Mendoza Navarro Development Coordinator Public Interest Law I attended the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus, where I majored in Cell and Molecular Biology. After graduation, I worked in a neuroscience laboratory at NYU where I studied how oxytocin modulates maternal behavior. This past summer, I was a policy fellow and a research assistant for the Health Justice Project here at Loyola University of Chicago and for professor here at Loyola, respectively. I got the opportunity to research a wide arrange of subjects such as environmental justice, Cuba’s domestic climate change policies, immigrant’s access to health care, and Medicaid fair hearings in Illinois. After graduating from undergrad, I had already been accepted into NYU for a Phd program, however, while working there and having the opportunity to mentor high school students, I noticed that there was a gap in the education system. High school students of color had poor access to a quality education, much less access to mentoring. How could there be more diversity in science, if students of color and other marginalized students did not have the same opportunities for mentorship, recruitment, and education? Because of that, I decided to go to law school so that I could be an advocate for marginalized people’s right to adequate access to education and that led me to SUFEO! I’m excited to be working with SUFEO and helping CPS families and students advocate for themselves.  Section 1

Vanessa Aceves

Intake Coordinator Education Law & Disability Advocacy I went to UIUC for undergrad, where I majored in Political Science with a minor in Communication. As a gap year between undergrad and law school, I worked for City Year, where I was paired with a 6th grade math teacher and developed intervention plans for students falling below grade level. I was the 2020 summer extern for AMITA Health, am participating in Beazley's Health Justice Project and Annals of Health.I interned for Equip for Equality’s Special Education Clinic. I was paired with the Spanish-speaking attorney and worked almost exclusively with Spanish-speaking clients. I was able to assist in every step of the case, from intake to IEP meetings to mediations! I have been passionate about Education Law for several years now. As a sibling of a person with a disability educated through CPS, I was eager to represent families within CPS. I wanted to make a difference and help prevent the issues I saw for my brother. When I learned that Loyola had a student organization that offered direct client experience, I was amazed. I have gotten to work closely with clients, building trust and really making an impact. I can’t wait to do more! Section 2

Annie Keller

Intake

Coordinator

Public Interest Law I attended Boston College where I double majored in Psychology and French. I worked at a marketing agency for two years after school, before deciding to pivot in order to cultivate a more service and ©-oriented career. Last summer I was a judicial intern for the Circuit Court of Cook County. I assisted with a variety of cases, spanning from name changes to election disputes, adoptions, tax deeds, etc. I love that SUFEO provided an opportunity to serve as an advocate even as a 1L. Additionally, my family knows how hard it can be when an issue arises with a school. I am passionate about providing assistance in any form we can to students and families that may be struggling to get what they need in order to succeed. Section 2

Caroline Adams

Advocacy Coordinator

Education/Family Law

I attended the University of Texas at Austin where I double majored in Communications and International Relations. Before law school I took some time to work with a nonprofit that provided services to veterans and then as a copywriter and graphic designer with a tech company.

This past summer I worked at a family law firm downtown. I had the opportunity to work with clients on matters such as divorce proceedings and guardianship matters in the Cook County Domestic Relations and Probate Divisions.

Coming into law school I knew I was interested in working in advocacy but did not have a clear plan laid out yet. When I heard about SUFEO I was excited for the opportunity to get hands-on experience working closely with clients seeking support. I am so thankful I joined and chose to get more involved during my first year. SUFEO allowed me to discover my interest in family and education law and has shaped my law school experience!

Section 1
Brittany Haracz Outreach Coordinator Education Law I attended the College of the Holy Cross for Undergrad before pursuing my Masters in Secondary Education at Providence College. Before law school, I was a middle school teacher where I taught ELA to 7th graders! This past summer I worked with the Moran Center for Youth Advocacy in Evanston. Here I worked as a law clerk with the Education Advocacy group and had the opportunity to work with clients, students within the local school district. SUFEO is a unique way to advocate even as a first-year law student. Having participated in SUFEO as a 1L, I knew I wanted to continue to be a part of working with students and families to ensure they receive the support they need to succeed in the classroom. This year I am excited to be on the outreach team! Section 2
Sarah Bianchi Outreach Coordinator Family/Education Law I studied Criminology/Criminal Justice at St. Louis University. Before law school, I worked at a transitional housing program for survivors of domestic violence. This past summer I worked for Chicago Advocate Legal, NFP. I had the opportunity to work with clients in the domestic relations and probate divisions. As a CPS alum and student with a disability, I felt compelled to become involved with SUFEO. Being able to support students and families navigate through any educational issues they face has been a rewarding experience and I cannot wait to continue my service on the E board! Section 3