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Lara S. Kaufmann, Senior Counsel & Director of Education Policy for At-Risk Students

Lara S. Kaufmann is Senior Counsel and Director for Education Policy for At-Risk Students.  She works on the advancement of women and girls at school and in the workplace. Lara engages in litigation, advocacy, and public education, with a particular focus on improving educational outcomes for at-risk girls, including pregnant and parenting students. Lara co-authored the Center’s 2012 report, A Pregnancy Test for Schools: The Impact of Education Laws on Pregnant and Parenting Students, as well as its 2009 report, Listening to Latinas: Barriers to High School Graduation. Before joining the Center, Lara was a Staff Attorney with the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, and prior to that she was an Assistant United States Attorney in Chicago. Lara also worked with the law firm of McDermott, Will & Emery, and was law clerk to then-Chief Judge Marvin Aspen of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois. Lara is a graduate of the University of Michigan and Northwestern University School of Law.

My Take

Critical Services for At-Risk Girls in D.C. Are At Risk Themselves

If you live in Washington, D.C., listen up: we’ve got a special alert for you! The D.C City Council has proposed to eliminate from its budget all funding for Crittenton Services of Greater Washington. That’s $700,000 that currently helps to empower and enable teen girls in DC to stay in school, avoid unwanted pregnancy, earn a diploma, and go on to college and careers. That $700,000 currently supports programs for nearly 250 at-risk girls in D.C. public schools. Without this funding, Crittenton will have to close the doors of its D.C. programs.

You can help to keep that from happening. The City Council’s Health and Human Services Committee is set to vote on its budget legislation this Monday, May 11. Now’s the time to raise your voice and make sure these programs can continue to help teen girls work toward their goals.

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It Doesn't Get Any Clearer Than This

I am so tired of hearing that there is no campus sexual assault problem, that it’s just a myth perpetuated by feminists and what’s really happening is that “[g]irls are drinking themselves blotto precisely in order to lower their inhibitions for casual sex, then regretting it afterwards.” It’s incred


White House Report and Event on Girls and Women of Color

Yesterday, the White House released a report [PDF] called Women and Girls of Color: Addressing Challenges and Expanding Opportunity and announced that the White House Council on Women and Girls will now have a working group to focus on the particular barriers that women and g


End Discrimination in Our Schools, Not Just in the Workplace

Last week, the U.S. Senate passed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) with strong bipartisan support. If ENDA becomes law, employers across the nation will be barred from discriminating against gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender workers because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. This is a major step forward for LGBT rights and shows just how far our country has come. 

But we can’t stop there. While the Senate has taken a step to end LGBT discrimination in the workplace, there is no federal law that explicitly prohibits the same kind of discrimination in public schools. School districts across the country have been keeping LGBT students out of athletics programs.  Censoring Gay-Straight Alliance groups. Cancelling prom rather than letting a student bring her girlfriend to the dance. 

The situation is especially urgent due to the shocking levels of harassment and bullying LGBT students face every day.


Kansas Boy Suspended for Not Being Manly Enough

Ready for the absurd?

Yesterday a Kansas school suspended a 13-year old student for wearing a purse. Happened to be a Vera Bradley bag, but that shouldn’t matter, because it wasn’t the bright colors or quilted paisley design that prompted the disciplinary action. It was the fact that the student is a boy. There is no school rule about wearing purses, and female students who do so are not punished. But widely held, stubborn stereotypes are that females carry purses and men don’t. This boy, Skylar, defied that stereotype, and his school wouldn’t tolerate it.