Friday’s Children and the Law News Roundup

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Los Angeles School Board Cracks Down on Suspensions for Minor Infractions, Juvenile Justice Information Exchange

Amid a deepening debate over appropriate school discipline, board members of the nation’s second largest school district — Los Angeles Unified — took bold steps this week sure to be noticed nationally.

They voted to prohibit out-of-school suspensions of students based on “willful defiance,” a vague label, critics say, that’s become far too handy a vehicle for ejecting students rather than helping them settle down and improve academic performance. The board members also voted to implement a sweeping review and new standards for the district’s sizable police force, which has a history of aggressive ticketing of students.

Federal Judge Rejects Challenge to D.C. School Closings, The School Law Blog – Education Week

A federal district court judge has rejected a legal challenge to a plan to close underutilized schools in the District of Columbia’s public school system, saying he found it “curious” that parents were seeking to keep children in schools that were academically “weaker” and “more segregated.”

U.S. District Judge James E. Boasberg said there was no evidence of intentional discrimination on the part of District of Columbia Schools Superintendent Kaya Henderson or others behind the plan to close 15 traditional public schools in the 45,000-student system. The plan is estimated to save some $8.5 million per year.

ADHD Most Prevalent Disorder in Report on Mental Health of Children, On Special Education – Education Week

Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder leads the list of mental health issues captured in the first-ever report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention intended to monitor the mental health of youth ages 3 to 17.

The report, which uses information compiled from several different monitoring sources, found that about 8 percent of the youth in this population had ever been diagnosed with ADHD, as reported by their parents. The next most-frequent mental health disorder was “behavior or conduct problems” at 3.5 percent, and anxiety at 3 percent.

Advocates Dispute Agency Finding on Sex Abuse of Juvenile Inmates, Juvenile Justice Information Exchange

The United States Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) released data from the 2011-2012 National Inmate Survey (NIS)on Thursday, revealing new findings about rates of sexual victimization in the nation’s prisons.

Some advocates claim that the new figures, however, may underreport the amount of juvenile inmate sexual victimizations that goes on in the nation’s jails and prisons.

 Justice Sotomayor Urges Immigrant Parents to Aid Their Children’s Education, The School Law Blog – Education Week

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor told parents of English-language learners in New York City this week they must persevere in helping guide their children on the path to college and career success.

And such parents, many of whom are immigrants to the United States, should let their children help them adapt to American society and become lifelong learners, whether that means mastering English as a second language or computers, she said.

Bill Would Ban Smoking with Children in Vehicle, The Lowell Sun Online

BOSTON — Smokers who drive with children in their vehicles would no longer be able to light up under legislation being considered by lawmakers on the Public Health Committee.

State Rep. Paul Heroux, a freshman Democrat from Attleboro, wants to make it illegal to smoke with children in the car, citing health risks from secondhand smoke. Heroux said the proposed law could be enforced in a manner similar to the law banning texting while driving.

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  1. Academic difficulties are also frequent. The symptoms are especially difficult to define because it is hard to draw a line at where normal levels of inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity end and clinically significant levels requiring intervention begin. To be diagnosed with ADHD, symptoms must be observed in two different settings for six months or more and to a degree that is greater than other children of the same age.

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