Thursday’s Children and the Law News Roundup

When Bullying Goes High-Tech, CNN

Brandon Turley didn’t have friends in sixth grade. He would often eat alone at lunch, having recently switched to his school without knowing anyone.

While browsing MySpace one day, he saw that someone from school had posted a bulletin — a message visible to multiple people — declaring that Turley was a “fag.” Students he had never even spoken with wrote on it, too, saying they agreed.

Feeling confused and upset, Turley wrote in the comments, too, asking why his classmates would say that. The response was even worse: He was told on MySpace that a group of 12 kids wanted to beat him up, that he should stop going to school and die. On his walk from his locker to the school office to report what was happening, students yelled things like “fag” and “fatty.”

“It was just crazy, and such a shock to my self-esteem that people didn’t like me without even knowing me,” said Turley, now 18 and a senior in high school in Oregon. “I didn’t understand how that could be.”

Centre Debunks Theory of Reducing Age of Juveniles under Juvenile Justice Act, Jagran Post

Government has no plan to reduce the age of juveniles under the Juvenile Justice Act (JJA), Women and Child Development Minister Krishna Tirath informed the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.

Replying to a question on suggestions for amending the Act, she said, “We are not yet ready to reduce the age of juveniles.” She said in a meeting held by the Ministry of Home Affairs with Chief Secretaries of state governments and Directors General of Police on January 4 a suggestion was made regarding lowering of age of juveniles from 18 years to 16 in the wake of the Delhi gang rape case in which a juvenile is an accused.

“However, the Committee on Amendments to Criminal Law under the Chairmanship of Justice J S Verma (Retd), in its recommendations submitted on 23.1.2013, has not supported the suggestion regarding reduction of the age of the child in conflict with law.

A Grown-Up Approach to Juvenile Justice Reform, Juvenile Justice Information Exchange

Connecticut’s juvenile justice system has seen tremendous reform in the past 10 years. As a new report by the Justice Policy Institute points out, we’ve diverted kids from the juvenile system, provided better services for those inside it and kept kids out of the adult system.

These reforms have been accompanied by a declining youth crime rate and a decreasing burden on taxpayers. So many people deserve credit for these advances, including enlightened public officials, inspired funders and tenacious advocates. But what made them so successful?

They acted like grown ups.

Teenagers often make decisions impulsively on the basis of strong emotions without thinking through the consequences of their choices. Unfortunately, adults sometimes make decisions in the same way, notably when it comes to crime and delinquency. That’s why “get tough on crime” policies that have no effect on public safety – or a negative effect – are so often popular.

Parents of Transgender First-Grader File Discrimination Complaint, CNN

A transgender rights group announced Wednesday that it has filed a discrimination complaint in Colorado on behalf of a first-grader who was born a boy but identifies as a girl.

The filing stems from a decision announced last December by officials at Fountain-Fort Carson School District that Coy Mathis could no longer use the girls’ bathroom at Eagleside Elementary.

Mother Kathryn Mathis said she and her husband were shocked.

“We were very confused because everything was going so well, and they had been so accepting, and all of a sudden it changed and it was very confusing and very upsetting because we knew that, by doing that, she was going to go back to being unhappy,” she told CNN. “It was going to set her up for a lot of bad things.”

Allison Arterberry

About Allison Arterberry

Allison Arterberry is a third year student at the University of Houston Law Center. She graduated from Texas A&M University in 2011 with a B.A. in Political Science and Spanish. She has spent parts of her last two summers interning at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. Currently, she is a Senior Articles Editor for the Houston Journal of International Law, the Secretary for the Labor & Employment Law Society as well as a member of the Career Development Student Advisory Board and the Association of Women in Law. Additionally, last year she was the Secretary for Aggie Law Society. Allison is most interested in child victim’s rights in the criminal system.

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