Saturday’s Children and the Law News Roundup

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Study: Youth Offenses, Sentences, Predict Little about Recidivism, Juvenile Justice Information Exchange (JJIE)

Data emerging from a seven years’ study of young offenders suggest that the nature of a serious juvenile crime or the length of time served for it, does not do a very good job predicting if a youth will re-offend.

Romney’s Educational Vouchers a Disaster for Special Education Students, Special Education Law Blog

As a primary part of his education platform, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is proposing a pro-choice, pro-voucher system that will allow parents to choose which schools their children can attend.  Romney is arguing that market forces and competition will force improvements in public schools.  Additionally, Romney is proposing to allow federal Title I and IDEA funds (which will also likely be cut) to become “portable” for low income and special needs students.  These funds would follow the students to any district or public charter school, private school where permitted by state law, or toward tutoring or online courses. In theory, these proposals sound wonderful.  Who wouldn’t want their children, both regular and special education, to go to the best possible schools?  These proposals, however, could be disastrous for special education students.

Child deaths fall to a new low, Foreign Policy Association

According to the United Nations for the first time the number of annual child deaths have fallen below seven million.  “The new child mortality estimates show that concerted efforts to get proven lifesaving care to children work and that, in the 21stcentury, children no longer need to die from preventable causes,” said Carolyn Miles, President and CEO of Save the Children. “But the new report also shows that the low-cost solutions that could save these lives still aren’t reaching many mothers, newborn babies and children – especially those who need them most.  Every American has the power to help change that.

Backers say bills signed by Brown will reduce school suspensions, Los Angeles Times

The four discipline-related bills signed by Brown are:

•AB 1729 by Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco), requiring that administrators in most cases use suspensions only after alternative disciplinary practices fail to correct student misbehavior. The new law expands those alternatives to include community service, restorative justice programs and positive behavior incentives.

•SB 1088 by Sen. Curren D. Price Jr. (D-Los Angeles), prohibiting public schools from refusing to enroll or readmit students solely because they had contact with the juvenile justice system. Faer said some students have been kept out of school for months because they are unable to find one that will take them, even though they have never been formally expelled.

•AB 2537 by Assemblyman V. Manuel Perez (D-Coachella), giving more discretion to school principals to use alternatives to expulsion in disciplining students. The new law also clarifies that students will not face mandatory expulsion if they bring to school personal medications or imitation firearms such as toy guns.

•AB 2616 by Assemblywoman Wilmer Amina Carter (D-Rialto), changing state truancy rules. It would give administrators discretion to not refer a student to juvenile courts for a fourth offense and lowers truancy fines, among other things.

Some juvenile killers would get parole if Jerry Brown signs bill, Los Angeles Times

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