Youth Advocacy Foundation YAF

Malikka Williams

Malik is a bright, creative 5-year-old boy who loves singing and begs for extra time in the library. When his mother Malikka Williams contacted the EdLaw Project in November 2015, Malik had already been suspended from kindergarten for 10 days. Disciplinary incidents would begin as minor misbehavior, such as not sitting on the rug correctly. When his teacher redirected him, he would become agitated, disrupting the class with emotional outbursts or else running out of the classroom. The school called his parents on a daily basis regarding Malik’s behavior, and they frequently asked them to come pick him up preventing his mother from going back to work.


Even though Malik had been diagnosed with social and emotional delays in K1, the Individualized Education Plan (IEP) created by the school only addressed his speech and language needs. After EdLaw’s intervention, the school agreed to do an expedited evaluation of Malik’s social-emotional challenges. Additionally, his EdLaw attorney prevented further suspensions by successfully arguing to the school that his behavior was a manifestation of his disability.  She worked with the school to develop a plan that addressed the school’s concerns while enabling Malik to stay in the classroom, thereby stopping the school’s illegal practice of sending him home without the appropriate procedures.   Upon completion of the new evaluation, EdLaw advocated for a revised IEP and a placement in a new school with significantly more social-emotional support in a fully inclusive setting. Malik is now thriving in his new class–he has not had a single suspension or removal from school, and was recently named “Star Student of the Week.” His mother is thrilled with his progress, and without the daily calls from his school, she has been able to return to work! ​