Monday’s Children and the Law News Roundup

Here’s a look at today’s top stories affecting children’s rights, juvenile justice, and education:

Expelling Zero Tolerance: Reforming Texas School Discipline for Good, Texas Public Policy Foundation

Grits for Breakfast reports on the Texas Public Policy Foundation’s new report that shows Texas zero tolerance policies needlessly cost taxpayers money while having little effect on student behavior.

Kentucky justices to review law regarding grandparents’ visitation rights, Kentucky Courier-Journal

Twenty years after a ruling that gave grandparents the right to visit their grandchildren over the parents’ objection, the Kentucky Supreme Court is preparing to give the controversial issue another look.

In 1992, the court upheld a state law that allows grandparent visitation if it is in the child’s best interests, ruling that if “a grandparent is physically, mentally and morally fit, then a grandchild will ordinarily benefit from contact with the grandparent.”

But in a case from Louisville that will be argued Friday, the court will revisit the issue for the first time since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2000 that the wishes of objecting parents must be given “special weight” and that fit parents must be “presumed to be acting in their child’s best interests.”

Young and Alone, Facing Court and Deportation, New York Times

Juan David Gonzalez was 6 years old. He was in the court, which would decide whether to expel him from the country, without a parent — and also without a lawyer.

Immigration courts in this South Texas border town and across the country are confronting an unexpected surge of children, some of them barely school age, who traveled here without parents and were caught as they tried to cross illegally into the United States.

The young people, mostly from Mexico and Central America, ride to the border on the roofs of freight trains or the backs of buses. They cross the Rio Grande on inner tubes, or hike for days through extremes of heat and chill in Arizona deserts. The smallest children, like Juan, are most often brought by smugglers.

Juvenile justice: Is there a better way? (Opinion piece), Des Moines Register

Alex Hunt

About Alex Hunt

Alex Hunt is a former Yale & Irene Rosenberg Graduate Fellow at the Center for Children, Law & Policy. Alex graduated from the University of Texas in 2008 with a Bachelor of Arts in government. Before entering law school, he taught middle school math at YES Prep Southwest in Houston with Teach For America. In 2010, he received New Leaders' EPIC Spotlight Teacher Award, a national award for teachers with outstanding student growth. Alex graduated cum laude from the University of Houston Law Center in May 2013. During law school, Alex was Casenotes & Comments Editor for the Houston Journal of International Law, interned for both state and federal judges, and served as Vice President of the Health Law Organization (HLO). In addition, Alex has received the Irving J. Weiner Memorial Scholarship Award (for a year of outstanding work in the UH Law Center Legal Clinic), the Napoleon Beazley Defender Award (for outstanding work on behalf of children), the Ann Dinsmore Forman Memorial Child Advocacy Award, the Mont P. Hoyt Memorial Writing Award for an Outstanding Comment on a Topic in International Law, and he was a finalist for Texas Access to Justice's Law Student Pro Bono Award. Alex is currently in private family law practice with the Hunt Law Firm, P.L.L.C. in Katy, Texas.

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