How To Get Help

When Your Student is Struggling in School, We’re Here for You

Conflict at school can be an overwhelming experience, for both students and their families. We’re here to help. The Student Advocacy Center of Michigan provides collaborative, youth-driven, non-legal education advocacy and support.

Call us with us when your student’s education or safety is at risk or when you’re faced with issues related to:

  • School Discipline, Suspensions and Expulsions
  • Special Education Needs
  • Racism
  • Homelessness
  • Immigrants and English Language Learners
  • Pregnant and Parenting Teens
  • Foster Care
  • GED and Alternatives

Take the First Step: Call Our Statewide Students’ Rights Helpline

Getting help from the Student Advocacy Center of Michigan begins with a call to our toll-free Helpline at 1-855-688-1916. Typically, during weekdays, we answer calls within 48 hours and within 24 hours if the call is regarding a student’s expulsion.

Our experienced advocates will answer your questions, help you understand the situation and provide you with the information you need to determine the next best step. This work is funded by donors and grants so that we can serve students across Michigan; there is no cost to families.

After our initial conversation, we’ll assess how we can be most helpful to you. Some of the things we can do include: review records, help you write letters to schools, file complaints, contact school officials on your behalf, develop plans of action, research resources and more.

In some instances, we may recommend your case to one of our education advocates, who can provide even more personalized help. (There’s no cost for an educational advocate if your household income qualifies your student for free school lunch. We can provide educational advocacy for families with higher household incomes at a reasonable cost.)

If you are worried, confused or seeking help with an issue at school, reach out to us today.


How We Work with Students and Families

  • We recognize systemic injustice in the educational system. The Student Advocacy Center was founded in 1975 by community members concerned about systemic racism in schools and the systemic reasons why Black students were disciplined more harshly than their white peers. 
  • We seek collaborative solutions, working with you and the school to find resolutions that center the student’s education.
  • We are not lawyers and do not provide legal support. If you want to sue or seek damages for harm, you will need a lawyer.
  • We respect your rights. Read our Recipient Rights in EnglishSpanish and  Arabic.

“We’d given up. We’d been told our situation was hopeless and our son would ‘automatically’ be expelled. When the school stopped providing options for his education, it appeared (to us) that he’d become ‘disposable.’ The Student Advocacy Center didn’t accept this outcome and was able to quickly provide options that we didn’t know existed. Our son is about to graduate from his high school, and this would not have been possible without the help of Peri and the Student Advocacy Center.”

Parents of “James”

Examples of Advocacy


School administrators told 17-year-old Macy and her foster mom, Carol, that Macy couldn’t enroll in the local high school because of her refugee status. They suggested that Macy sign up for the GED program instead. Carol called the Student Advocacy Center for help. We explained that under federal law, students with refugee status are immediately eligible to enroll in school. Feeling confident that the law was on their side, the family went back to the school and enrolled Macy.

Today Macy is doing well as a high school sophomore.

Joseph was in ninth grade when he was expelled. He and his mother applied for reinstatement but were denied. Not sure how to help her son stay in school, his mom called the Student Advocacy Center Helpline. We listened to her and then contacted the school to get records and more information about Joseph’s case. After that, Joseph was offered an alternative on-line program through the school. 

Glad that her son could keep learning, Joseph’s mom thought Student Advocacy Center’s help made the difference.

Kevin was a fourth grade student facing expulsion for threatening another student. Kevin spent 14 days out of school. Worried about his son’s education, Kevin’s dad called the Student Advocacy Center. We helped him understand their rights so he could be confident and prepared to stand up for his son’s education at a meeting with the school principal the next day. At the meeting, it was decided that Kevin would be allowed to return to an alternative school program.

Kevin’s father was glad to know that he had options and was able to get his son back to learning.