New Texas Laws – School Citations for Class C Misdemeanors

some-texas-students-are-being-ticketed-and-sent-to-court-for-leaving-class-early-or-using-profanityDuring this past session, the Texas legislature enrolled several laws with the hope of significantly reducing the number of children charged with Class C Misdemeanors while at school (commonly referred to as student ticketing).  While these new laws seem to encourage schools to apply alternate methods for addressing student behavior, nothing actually prevents schools from continuing the practice of student ticketing. In other words, these new laws seem to be all BARK and NO BITE…

The new laws merely replace the word “citation” with the word “complaint.” School police officers cannot issue citations but can submit complaints. In a recent article, the Texas Tribune suggests that this will reduce the number of children charged, because the local prosecutor will have discretion “whether to charge the student with a Class C Misdemeanor” or not based on the complaint. This is misleading, because prosecutors always had complete discretion to charge or dismiss citations. Therefore, it is not clear how issuing complaints instead of citations will significantly reduce student ticketing.

To read the entire Texas Tribune article, click here: http://www.texastribune.org/2013/08/29/class-disruption-cases-head-principals-office-not-/

To read the new laws, click here: http://www.capitol.state.tx.us/tlodocs/83R/billtext/pdf/SB00393F.pdf#navpanes=0

Photo Courtesy of The Week.

Forum on New Healthcare Law’s Health Insurance Marketplace & How to Prepare

Healthcare In a Changing Landscape: Connecting Houstonians to Coverage: A Citywide Forum for Stakeholders and Consumers

View the Forum Agenda & Register Online @ www.cdftexas.org/houstonforum

Children's Defense Fund: HealthCare in a Changing Landscape

  • COSPONSORS: Children’s Defense Fund, Texas Organizing Project & Enroll America’s Get Covered America campaign.
  • WHERE: Krost Hall, University of Houston Law Center
  • WHEN: Saturday, September 7, 2013, 9 AM – 4 PM
  • WHAT: Children’s Defense Fund-Texas, Texas Organizing Project, the Center for Children, Law & Policy, and Enroll America’s Get Covered America campaign will present a citywide forum for stakeholders and consumers all about upcoming opportunities to enroll in affordable healthcare coverage through the new Health Insurance Marketplace. Beginning October 1, the Health Insurance Marketplace (part of the Affordable Care Act) will finally open for business. For the first time, 3 million Texans – children and families – will have affordable healthcare options. A new day for healthcare in America is around the corner and we invite you to join the conversation.
  • AGENDA: Full agenda available here.
  • REGISTER at www.cdftexas.org/houstonforum.

Washington Judicial Colloquies Project – Using Language that Children Can Understand in Juvenile Court

http://ukhumanrightsblog.com/2010/05/28/child-rape-case-sparks-new-debate-on-child-witnesses-in-criminal-courts/

Last year, I attended the National Juvenile Defender Summit in Seattle, Washington.  At the Summit, I attended TeamChild’s presentation about one of their current projects.  TeamChild was working on developing youth friendly colloquies for juvenile courts in two Washington Counties.

The presentation inspired me. I had never before thought about the fact that though juvenile courts are designed for children, they often do not utilize language designed for children.  My next thought was “This project needs to be implemented everywhere!”

TeamChild and the Juvenile Indigent Defense Network have partnered with the MacArthur Foundation to publish a useful guide for other jurisdictions to replicate their project.  The Washington Judicial Colloquies Project: A Guide for Improving Comprehension and Understanding in Juvenile Court was recently released and is available free on TeamChild’s website.  In addition, TeamChild and the National Juvenile Justice Network have released a helpful webinar titled Using Language in Court that Youth Can Understand: The Washington Judicial Colloquies Project.  The webinar provides further explanation of TeamChild’s approach to gathering research data, drafting the forms and colloquies, and implementing the use of these youth friendly colloquies in juvenile courts.

The webinar is presented by Rosa Peralta.  She also gave the presentation that I attended at the 2011 National Juvenile Defender Summit.  Rosa is a research associate at TeamChild. She has worked with a wide range of private, public and volunteer sector organizations to support and improve services for young people. As the research associate at TeamChild in Seattle, WA, she coordinates the Juvenile Indigent Defense Action Network (JIDAN) and the Models For Change (MfC) defender projects in Washington State. Prior to completing her Ph.D. training in Sociology at the University of Michigan, Rosa worked for many years as a criminal defense investigator at one of Seattle’s public defense agencies. Rosa taught sociology at the University of Michigan and she also developed and managed recruitment and retention programs for underrepresented undergraduate and graduate students.