ACLU settles lawsuit with Cranston schools

Dec 28, 2012

PROVIDENCE, RI – The Rhode Island chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union has settled a lawsuit with the Cranston School Department. The settlement allows a mother with a criminal record to volunteer at her daughter’s elementary school.

When Jessica Doyle was in her early 20’s, she was a heroin addict who was convicted twice for felony drug charges. This was before her daughter was born in 2003. And since then she’s received treatment and is an advocate for drug prevention.

When her daughter entered Arlington Elementary School, Doyle’s record prevented her from volunteering. The ACLU sued in 2010 on her behalf, says executive director Steve Brown.

“She’s really the perfect parent to be volunteering there and to give a message to everybody about how one can recover from past problems in one’s life,” says Brown.

The settlement removes the automatic ban from volunteering in Cranston schools for those with a criminal drug record and other offenses, and it gives the superintendent leeway to consider such factors as when the conviction occurred and whether the parent has undergone treatment.

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