Thursday’s Children and the Law News Roundup

District Not Liable in Student Bullying, Appeals Court Rules, The School Law Blog – Education Week

A Pennsylvania school district cannot be held liable for the bullying of a high school student by one of her peers, despite the fact that school officials re-admitted the perpetrator after she had been found delinquent and then continued to bully the victim, a federal appeals court has ruled.

The full U.S. Court of Appeals for the 3rd Circuit, in Philadelphia, expressed sympathy for the victim and her family but said that under well-established precedents they could not prevail under two distinct theories in holding the district and one of its administrators legally responsible for the bullying.

The court held 9-5 that despite compulsory education laws the school did not have a “special relationship” with its students that would give rise to a duty to protect them from harm from other students. And it ruled 10-4 that legal injuries to the victims were not the result of actions taken by administrators under a “state-created danger” theory of liability.

Past Traumatic Experiences Common Among Detained Juveniles, Juvenile Justice Information Exchange

Most young people placed in detention have experienced at least one traumatic event in their lifetime, according to a new report from the federal Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP).

“PTSD, Trauma and Comorbid Psychiatric Disorders in Detained Youth,” released Tuesday, included findings culled from the Northwestern Juvenile Project, which assessed more than 1,800 young detainees in Chicago between 1995 and 1998. According to the latest OJJDP bulletin, of the final sample of nearly 900 subjects, 93 percent reported prior exposure to trauma, and approximately 84 percent reported experiencing more than one traumatic event. More than half of respondents reported experiencing traumatic events six times or more, according to the bulletin.

Children of Deported Push Congress to Reunite Immigrant Families, Voice of America

WASHINGTON — The son of a Mexican woman who became a symbol of the U.S. immigration reform movement by taking sanctuary in a Chicago church to try to avoid deportation pushed lawmakers in Washington Wednesday to help families like his.

Saul Arellano and other young U.S. citizens whose parents have been deported, or are in detention for immigration violations, shared their stories with members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus, just days before the Senate is set to debate a possible overhaul of the U.S. immigration system.

Report: Feds Lock Children in Adult Immigration Detention, COLORLINES

New federal data released today by an advocacy group reveals that in the last four years,  at least 1,366 kids were locked up in adult immigration detention centers for more than three days. The majority were held in the jails for more than a week and 15 for more than six months. Federal rules require that minors be released from the facilities in less than three days.

The data, obtained by the National Immigrant Justice Center, a Chicago-based non-profit, comes as Congress considers a number of reforms to the immigration detention system as part of the Senate’s immigration reform bill. The detention of minors is presumed already to be unlawful becuse of a 1997 legal settlement and the immigation agency’s own protocols.

Nearly One-Third of Children with Autism Also Have ADHD, ScienceDaily

In a study of the co-occurrence of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in early school-age children (four to eight years old), researchers at the Kennedy Krieger Institute found that nearly one-third of children with ASD also have clinically significant ADHD symptoms.


Wednesday’s Children and the Law News Roundup

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

Sentencing Youth as Adults Harms Us All, Juvenile Justice Blog

Although there have been a number of promising reforms over the past five years in which states have amended their laws to keep more young offenders in the juvenile system, an estimated 250,000 youth under 18 are prosecuted in the adult criminal justice system each year. Yet, research shows that the consequences of an adult conviction are serious, long-lasting, and potentially life-threatening for young offenders and that laws allowing such prosecutions are ineffective at deterring crime and reducing recidivism.

The question remains: Why do most states continue to prosecute, try, sentence, and incarcerate juveniles as though they were adults?

Upcoming Webinar To Explore Strategies for Improving Juvenile Detention Conditions, Juvenile Justice Information Exchange (JJIE)

On September 12, the National Center for Youth in Custody (NC4YC) – launched by the federal Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) in 2010 – will host a webinar titled Creating and Sustaining Improved Conditions for Youth in Custody: Beyond the Initial External Influence.

The webinar, the first in a series that will explore and address sustainable and comprehensive means of improving confinement conditions for detained youth, focuses on ways for facility managers to create safer, more secure and more therapeutic environments for juveniles in custody.

Study: Voucher students more likely to go to college, HechingerEd Blog

African-American school children in New York City who received a voucher to attend a private school were more likely to enroll in college than their public school counterparts, according to a study released last week by the Brookings Institution and Harvard’s Program on Education Policy and Governance.

For more than a decade the study tracked students who received privately-funded vouchers in the late 1990s. African-American students in that group were 24 percent more likely than those in a control group to attend college and 58 percent more likely to attend private four-year colleges. Hispanic students who received vouchers were also more likely to enroll in college, but only by a small, statistically insignificant, amount.

Helping Parents Understand the Language of Juvenile Court, Juvenile Justice Information Exchange (JJIE)

A parent’s failure to take part in their child’s treatment and supervision plan is hurtful — the child, for the most part, is doomed! Notwithstanding the importance of effective treatment that targets a child’s tendency to commit crime, none of it can be maximized if parental involvement is minimal or nonexistent — or worse, resistant.

Parental involvement in the prevention or rehabilitation of delinquency cannot be overstated despite the research showing the strong influence of peers on delinquent behavior. Parental attributes are indirectly related to the causes of delinquency whereas peer influence is stronger and directly related to delinquency. So what does the research mean when it says that family function is the greatest protective buffer against delinquency?

Arlington’s Michael Williams appointed new state education commissioner, Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Gateway Program provides positive path for San Bernardino County juvenile offenders, Redlands Daily Facts

The Thirty Top Education Policy Tweeters, 2012, Education Next