Aarti Kaur Sidhu
Education Staff Attorney
Disability Rights Maryland
As an education staff attorney for Disability Rights Maryland, Aarti Kaur Sidhu advocates for the rights of students with disabilities. As the COVID-19 pandemic has created unique challenges, Sidhu has spent countless hours supporting families of students with disabilities. Through her work with the Maryland Coalition to Reform School Discipline, she advocated for positive school discipline reform in local school systems, the Maryland State Department of Education and the Maryland General Assembly. Sidhu believes her greatest accomplishment was getting sworn into the Maryland Bar.
“As the child of Asian immigrants, there are stereotypes about my perceived intellectual abilities and that my parents would have exceedingly high expectations regarding my professional career; however, that is not true in my family. In 1978, my working-class parents moved to Maryland from India to provide a better life for me and my siblings. Their only expectation for me has always been to do what makes me happy,” Sidhu said.
Before joining Disability Rights Maryland, Sidhu was awarded the Open Society Institute fellowship where she worked to fight inequities created through the schoolto-prison pipeline. Students funnel out of the education system and into juvenile and criminal justice systems, and “students of color and students with disabilities are disproportionately impacted.” Sidhu’s work is driven by the Punjabi word “seva,” which means selfless service, and her strong desire to reform these systems.
“In 1978, my working-class parents moved to Maryland from India to provide a better life for me and my siblings. Their only expectation for me has always been to do what makes me happy.”