Tuesday’s Children and the Law News Roundup

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Nevada High Court Upholds Law Requiring Registration for Juvenile Sex Offenders, Juvenile Justice Information Exchange

In a narrow 4-3 decision, the Nevada Supreme Court upheld a state law requiring the registration of certain juvenile sex offenders, even though all seven of the court’s justices had written previously that the law may not be an effective crime deterrent.

The majority opinion was penned by Justice Michael Douglas, who wrote that the law, which took effect in 2007, “easily passes rational basic review.” However, Douglas also wrote that he had questions as to whether the law commendably serves a public safety purpose or aides juveniles in the rehabilitation process.

“Of upmost concern,“ Douglas wrote, “it does not appear from the legislative history that the Nevada Legislature ever considered the impact of the bill on juveniles.”

The decision overturns a ruling issued by a juvenile district judge in Clark County, who invalidated the law. Under the law, juveniles over the age of 14 who have been adjudicated delinquent for sexual offenses must register with local law enforcement officials, who may then share the offender’s information with public groups.

OP-ED: House and Senate Committees Gut Funding to Reduce Racial and Ethnic Disparities in the Juvenile Justice System, Juvenile Justice Information Exchange

This past week, the House and Senate Appropriators approved substantial reductions in juvenile justice funding, including critical funding to reduce racial and ethnic disparities in the juvenile justice system. The House bill contains only $20 million for all states to implement Title II of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act. The Senate bill recommends $50 million. Both are well below the president’s proposed $70 million.

We shouldn’t let them make these cuts and here’s why:

The Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA) was established in 1974 to provide federal standards for the custody and care of youth in the juvenile justice system. Title II of the law, which articulates core protections for system-involved youth to help states ensure young people are treated fairly and humanely, was updated more than 20 years ago with the “Disproportionate Minority Confinement” (DMC) provision. This provision requires that states, as a condition of receiving federal funds, identify and address the disproportionate confinement of youth of color in the juvenile justice system.

MY WHOLE FAMILY IS DRUG ABUSERS AND CRIMINALS, Juvenile Justice Information Exchange

“I’m from Johnson County. I’ve been here 4 months. I’ve been in seven times. First charge was damage to property—aiding and abetting (fleeing from cops) when I was 12-years old. My Mom came to see me. She comes every weekend from Lawrence. It’s about a 30-45 minute drive. She’s unemployed. Dad works in Olathe and visits every weekend. He works at a warehouse. I have two brothers. One is 15—in jail at Douglas County- battery and grand theft auto. The 13 year old is on ISP (intense supervised probation.) I have a 19-year-old sister who is finished with her term for shoplifting … and a 10-year-old sister – no trouble. My whole family is drug abusers and criminals. My Mom is four years recovered — clean from crack and alcohol. My Aunt did a year in Federal [prison] in Texas … for driving with a child in a car while intoxicated. This is my first LONG stay. I have been to ACT (Adolescent Center for Treatment) for rehab … It’s around the corner. Out patient rehabilitation when I was 13-14. I was on probation for battery. Assault is when you defend — battery is when you initiate. I was in junior high and living with my dad because my mom was in rehab. Then I moved in with my mom in Lawrence. I attended another middle school … kicked out for possession of narcotics with intent to distribute … Weed, meth, pills. I was 14.

Rituals: Connecting People Together, How Daily Patterns Help Strengthen Relationships


By: Kelly Campbell, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, Associate Director, Institute for Child Development and Family Relations, California State University

Years ago, I decided to take a belly dancing class because I found the music and movements enchanting. The class exceeded my expectations. It provided so much more than a step-by-step guide on hip movement. I was informed about the ancient origins of belly dance and how the same music and movements have been used for thousands of years by women in different parts of the world. With each style we learned, our instructor reminded us that our movements were connecting us to people throughout history who had moved in the same way. That class made me realize that rituals connect people across time and space.

This concept of transcendence can be applied to a variety of rituals. For example, perhaps one reason individuals feel strongly about their cultural traditions is because throughout history, people with a shared ethnic background have prepared foods the same way, worn the same type of clothing, spoken the same words, listened to the same music, and danced the same dance. By engaging in these repeated, meaningful acts, over and over again, groups are able to create and maintain a shared identity.

My daily routine provides additional examples of how simple, repetitive behaviors connect me to others. Each morning, I wake up, stretch, and make a cup of hot coffee and toast. Then, the day of work begins, followed by a break to workout, more stretching, and a 30-minute meditation. At twilight, which is my favorite part of the day, I return home to water my garden, admire the sunset on the mountains, have a drink on the patio, and make dinner. Everyday, everywhere, humans partake in parallel behaviors, and these practices bind us to each other.


In my research on couple and family rituals, I’ve noticed that rituals can range from simple to complex, and from frequent to infrequent. Simple and frequent rituals include the ways people say good morning or good night. One couple might snuggle for 10 minutes in bed before waking and sleeping, whereas another might send loving text messages each morning and night. Other rituals are more elaborate or infrequent such as when family members develop their own code language, or partake in annual celebrations including birthdays, Christmas holidays, and family reunions.


Through my research, I’ve also discovered that rituals serve numerous positive functions for couples and families. People who maintain their rituals, even during transition or crisis, for example, experience better outcomes. Familiar patterns, such as sitting down for a meal together, provide predictability and stability when things are chaotic and stressful. Rituals can also facilitate transitions such as when partners become parents, when children enter preschool, or when family members become ill or pass away. Engaging in rituals during these times of disruption help family members adjust and cope with change.


It’s exciting to think that the things we do each day might connect us to a larger group of people. We might become inspired, not only from the joy of a particular activity, but because of the connections we are fostering to people who have done the same thing, in the same way, across time and space.






TV and Bullying


According to a recent study done by Nicole Martins, PhD, which appears in the latest issue of the Journal of Communication, children under eight years old may not be able to make the connection between the bullying they see on television and the moral of the story at the end of the episode, which explains that the previous bullying was bad.

If you have ever seen a children’s show on Disney or Nickelodeon you know that bullying is prevalent on children’s television shows. Bullying is used for humor, to tell a story, or to teach a lesson. According to Martin, bullying used for humor is very common in shows meant for teenagers and tweens rather than younger children, but that typically doesn’t stop young children from watching these shows. In those teen shows, the “’mean girls’ generally get their comeuppance, but younger kids may not connect this with the earlier actions.” Young children see the bullying, hear people laughing, think it’s funny, and that masks what it really is.

Additionally, Martin found that many children watch shows that are meant for a more adult audience, such as “American Idol, Family Guy, and Fear Factor.” Often, young children watch shows with their parents, which may not be suited for them. Hearing Simon tear apart every contestant on American Idol or X Factor, with no one reprimanding him could have the effect of teaching children bullying is acceptable behavior.

Martin suggests the parents need to be more “aware that the shows their children watch may be promoting the message that social aggression is OK or even cool.” She suggests parents use bullying on television as an opportunity to teach children a lesson about bullying and how it “can hurt people’s feelings.” While I think Marin is correct in that parents can use these shows to teach children about bullying, I think the TV Parental Guidelines Monitoring Board needs to do a better job of monitoring these shows, and reassess the current TV ratings they give children’s shows.

For more see Social Bullying Common in TV Shows Kids Watch by Salynn Boyles, WebMD Health News, click here.