Friday’s Children and the Law News Roundup

Theories Abound With Race-in-Admissions Ruling Still to Come, Education Week

The U.S. Supreme Court is entering June with the entire education community anxiously awaiting a decision in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin (No. 11-345), a case that may determine the fate of the use of race in college admissions.

The case, which involves the flagship university’s limited consideration of race to go along with the Top Ten Percent plan for its undergraduate admissions, was argued Oct. 10, during the second week of the court’s term. It is the only case yet to be decided from the first two months of arguments.

Experts Praise Use of Youth Courts in School Discipline, Juvenile Justice Information Exchange

Peer pressure is not necessarily a bad thing, according to Nancy Fishman, youth justice programs project director for theCenter for Court Innovation. In fact, peer pressure can be very positive when applied through youth courts that are part of school discipline.

“It helps students create positive messages for other youth,” Fishman said during an OJJDP-sponsored webinar on Wednesday titled “Using Youth Courts as a School Discipline Practice.” “The goal isn’t to have teenagers pretend to be adults.”

Youth courts — disciplinary alternatives involving students who mimic a trial jury — aren’t merely mock performances, she said, because the punishments meted out are officially binding as school reprimands. They can be powerful tools, and allow young people to participate in and benefit from civic engagement, she said.