Tuesday’s Children and the Law News Roundup

Indian Supreme Court to review blanket protection for juveniles, Mail Online India

The Supreme Court has decided to look into the Constitutional validity of the juvenile justice law which provides blanket protection to all offenders up to the age of 18 irrespective of their mental maturity level.

In the petition before the court, the lawyers have contended that it was irrational to put all juveniles up to 18 on the same footing without considering the nature and gravity of the offence, actual age and mental maturity level of juvenile offender, socio-economic background of the juvenile, nature and character of the juvenile and the rights of the victim.

The petitioners have also questioned the law on the grounds that it had completely taken away judicial discretion in offences committed by juveniles. They have pointed out that the Indian Penal Code (IPC) provided some discretion in this regard to judges, but there was no similar provision in the juvenile justice law.

Getting dropouts back in school, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

In a 2006 study, Rand Corp. estimated that 35 percent of Pittsburgh students drop out of high school. That rate climbs alarmingly to over 50 percent for black males.

We often see young people in the throes of teen angst making decisions they could end up regretting for a lifetime. These are the children that the Hill House Passport Academy, a charter drop-out recovery school planned for the Hill District, wants to help. A blended-learning school that combines traditional classroom work with online curriculum, it is modeled after a very successful school in Chicago that boasts a 95 percent graduation rate.

The Hill House Association now awaits a decision from the Pittsburgh Board of Public Education, the body that approves charter schools in Pittsburgh. In emotional testimony before the board, 20-year-old Ruben Franklin summed up his thoughts about the school. “It’s the second chance that everyone wants and that young people deserve.”

Fairfax youths subject of porn investigation, The Washington Post

Fairfax County police are continuing to investigate allegations that three West Springfield High School students filmed themselves engaged in drunken sex acts with at least six juvenile girls.

The three boys – two 16-year-olds and a 15-year-old – were arrested at school Jan. 11, according to police and school officials. They have been charged with possession and distribution of child pornography.

The boys, whom police have not identified publicly because they are juveniles, allegedly hosted parties with girls who were students at West Springfield, Robinson Secondary and Lake Braddock Secondary schools, said a Fairfax County school official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to discuss the investigation. The teenagers apparently took part in consensual drinking sessions and then engaged in consensual sex acts, the official said, adding that the sex acts were recorded surreptitiously.