The initial vision for the School began soon after New York Law School, where co-applicant Richard Marsico teaches education law and oversees the Impact Center for Public Interest Law, had sponsored a symposium on the school-to-prison pipeline.
This pipeline is a collection of policies and practices that result in the criminalization of normal adolescent behavior, leading to high rates of participation in the criminal justice system for high school students, particularly from traditionally underserved communities and communities of color.
Additionally, New York Law School was running a successful Street Law Program, in which law students teach middle school students about their constitutional rights. Professor Marsico found that many of the student participants wrote thank you notes stating that they loved the law school and that they wished they could attend New York Law School someday.
The combination of these two events, in conjunction with a discussion on charter schools and alternatives to traditional public schools in his education law and policy course, led Professor Marsico to the idea that we should open a charter school. His vision was that the charter school could serve as a high school-to-law school pipeline that would counteract the school-to-prison pipeline.
Professor Marsico shared this vision with his students and for the next four years, they enthusiastically worked on the project. Over the years, Professor Marsico and his students were joined by New York Law School alumni, other interested people, and the College of Mount Saint Vincent.
Their collective work developed the Charter High School for Law and Social Justice.