Texas Senate Approves Bill to Limit Ticketing Youth


Texas Senate Approves Bill to Limit Ticketing Youth, Education Week

Faced with a documented pattern of teenagers pushed into the criminal justice system for acting out in class, Texas lawmakers on Thursday advanced a measure to start decriminalizing youthful misbehavior.

The Senate unanimously approved a bill that would limit the practice of issuing tickets for minor classroom offenses. The measure, which still must clear the House, would replace misdemeanor citations with counseling referrals and punishments such as community service performed on the school grounds.

“When you have these tickets, you end up having the kids caught up in the system for little violations that should be taken care of in the school,” Sen. Royce West, a Dallas Democrat who wrote the bill, told The Associated Press.

If this bill passes the Texas House, finally schools will be limited in how they deal with children acting out in class. In too many districts, an infraction as small as writing on a school desk is a state jail felony and is treated as so by the school, instead of dealt with inside the school system. When I was little I remember other students having detention, time out, signing the bad book, or suspensions. While children do need to behave in class so that all students may be able to pay attention and learn, schools can implement discipline programs within their walls, instead of taking the easy way out and calling the police.

To learn more on the matter the rest of the article can be found here.

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.”

Thursday’s Children and the Law News Roundup

‘More than Able to Hold her Own,’ Girl gets Boot from Catholic Football League, CNN

Caroline Pla has been playing football since kindergarten, and for the past two years, the 11-year-old has been knocking opposing players on their butts.

It never occurred to her that someone might need to protect her from the sport she adores.

Her playing time with the Catholic Youth Organization ended after last season when the Archdiocese of Philadelphia enforced its “boys only” policy for football, sidelining the All-Star guard and defensive end.

Inspired by her older brother, George, 14, Caroline started playing Pop Warner flag football at age 5 and was hooked. Once she got too big to play Pop Warner, she signed up to play tackle football with the CYO in the fifth grade.

Two games into Caroline’s second season, head coach Chip Ross received an unexpected call from Jason Budd, deputy secretary for Catholic education for the archdiocese, who oversees the football program.

Caroline’s older brother, George, 14, inspired her to become a football player when she was 5.

The 5-foot-3, 110-pound sixth-grader, Budd explained to Ross, could no longer play for the Romans because, according to the CYO handbook, football is a full-contact sport — no girls allowed.

Officials:  9-year-old Mother is at least 12, Houston Chronicle

Authorities in the Mexican state of Jalisco say tests have revealed that a girl who gave birth two weeks ago is between 12 and 13 years of age, not 9 as the parents had claimed.

Jalisco state prosecutors also say the girl was impregnated by her stepfather and not her alleged 17-year-old boyfriend.

French Plan to Add to Already Lengthy School Days Angers Parents and Teachers, The New York Times

For more than a century, the lengthy school days of French children have been punctuated by a midweek day off, in recent decades for most children on Wednesdays, originally created for catechism studies.

The long hours and peculiar weekly rhythm have been criticized as counterproductive to learning and blamed for keeping women out of the full-time work force, as well as widening inequalities between rich and poor because of the demands they place on working parents. Yet the Wednesday break has remained a fulcrum of French family life.

With all that in mind, the government of President François Hollande recently issued a decree introducing a half day of school on Wednesdays for children 3 to 11 starting in September, while reducing the school day by 45 minutes the rest of the week. In a country with a broad consensus in favor of shortening a school day that typically runs from 8:30 a.m. to at least 4 p.m., and sometimes longer, Mr. Hollande’s government still did not expect the plan to be controversial. It has not worked out that way.

Training Gap Cited for Police on Youth, The Boston Globe

They can be defiant, contemptuous of authority, and heedless of how their actions will affect their future.

Adolescents possess little of the reasoning and judgment that keep most adults out of trouble, according to recent scientific ­research that has encouraged more training of judges, prosecutors, and probation officers to ­realize that juveniles in the criminal justice system should be treated differently than their grown-up counterparts.

But, according to a survey by a Cambridge-based organization that trains police to deal with ­juveniles, little of that training is reaching those at the front lines of confrontations with wayward youth: police officers.

A Long Struggle for Equality in Schools, The New York Times

Looking back at the school desegregation case he took as a young lawyer, Rubin Salter Jr. sees a pile of wasted money and squandered opportunities. After almost four decades in court and nearly $1 billion in public spending, little has changed for the black children whose right to a good education he had labored to defend.