"I am convinced that teaching people the basics of our legal system will lead to more community involvement, which will in turn benefit not just the students, but their children and their entire community."
Help Your Students Balance Family and School through Legal Education A recent study by the American Bar Association found that every year 70% of families encounter a situation that requires legal attention.
Your low-income students are a significant part of this 70%, and they face a wide variety of legal issues alone and with no preparation. When they do make an attempt to tackle personal legal issues, as many as 85% face legal issues without representation.
For example, the Washington State Supreme Court Task Force found that one million Washington residents per year encounter more than one urgent civil legal problem that they do not know how to handle. Eighty-five percent of these people – all low-income – face these issues without any legal assistance. Although some people sought legal aid, only 12% received legal assistance and 88% did not. So, out of the one million people who needed legal help, 748,000 had to face these challenging issues alone. It's likely that many of these individuals are community college students trying to get ahead in life.
Most of these legal issues involve basic human needs such as housing, family safety and security, and public safety. Problem areas include family law, consumer issues, public benefits, housing problems, employment-related issues, discrimination, healthcare, and public and municipal services disputes.
Dealing with personal legal issues takes time away from school and work. You can minimize student absenteeism and noncompletion by educating them about legal issues they are likely to face.
Civil Survival provides legal education materials for low-income families that can help them understand their basic legal rights and responsibilities, as well as helping vulnerable populations to understand how and where to find help with their civil and criminal legal issues.