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Hearing to be set in suit filed by student’s mother

By Ari Bloomekatz

April 7, 2005 9:00 p.m.

Attorneys may soon hear whether a Sacramento court will proceed
with a suit filed by the mother of a 14-year-old UCLA student who
says the state of California did not provide adequate educational
instruction for her son.

The hearing will be set at a court meeting in Sacramento today,
said Richard Ackerman, the lawyer representing the student’s
mother, Leila Levi.

According to the legal complaint, Leila Levi is seeking
financial compensation for her son’s education.

The suit was first filed in a California Superior Court in
Sacramento in July 2004, and the complaint alleges the state
violated her son’s constitutional rights because his
education was not free, suitable and equal.

When he was 7 years old, Levi Clancy began taking classes at
Santa Monica College and passed the California High School
Proficiency exam when he was 9. According to his Web site, he first
came to UCLA in January 2004.

“The bottom line is that the constitution guarantees a
free and equal education according to the individual needs of each
student, and this particular student needs a college-level
education in order to function as a child,” Ackerman said
before one of the case’s initial hearings in January.

Ackerman said the topics of discussion at the scheduled hearing
will likely include whether Clancy is constitutionally entitled to
a public school education even through college, and whether he has
been a truant because he is under 16 and has not been involved in
the usual public school experience, among other issues.

Ackerman said he is not sure what decision to expect at the
scheduled hearing because there haven’t been any other
similar cases that set precedents.

“There is no case in the U.S. that has ever dealt with
this issue,” Ackerman said.

According to his Web site, Clancy is enrolled in a two-year
baccalaureate program and will then enter a
master’s/doctorate program.

Leila Levi also said her son has been endangered by the
publicity of his court case.

The same day the Daily Bruin reported on the suit in January,
Clancy received some threats through his Web site, prompting him to
change the site and password-protect his message board.

Leila Levi forwarded around 10 threats, some of which were
violent, sexually explicit and graphic, to Student Media Director
Arvli Ward, saying she thought other students may be to blame for
the hate mail.

“Articles about change bring out the worst in fully adult
people just like the Civil Rights Movement did, but in those less
mature, it appears to be worse,” wrote Leila Levi to Ward in
January.

In other letters to The Bruin, Leila Levi wrote that she also
thought UCLA staff might be responsible for one of the comments,
noting that someone with an e-mail address from UCLA Capital
Programs had posted a message.

“That’s really sad if that’s true. It just
sort of shows an absolute demonstration of disrespect for another
human being,” Ackerman said.

Leila Levi said she filed a police report with the Los Angeles
Police Department, and Ackerman wrote that he filed a complaint
with Chancellor Albert Carnesale’s office.

Associate Dean of Students Brian Carlisle said he is concerned
when any students receive threats and that if they feel in danger
they should contact university police and the dean of students
office.

“We don’t just take threats lightly. You don’t
have the right to terrorize someone,” Carlisle said, adding
that students who feel threatened should come forward because it is
impossible to monitor the entire campus.

“We have over 37,000 students and we don’t know
who’s being hurt or harassed or threatened if they
don’t come to us,” Carlisle said.

He added that if students come forward, the university can
conduct an investigation that could result in sanctions ranging
from a warning to dismissal if the perpetrator is also a
student.

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