Juvenile Court Judges Latest to Express Concern over Armed Security in Schools

Youth advocates have worked to reduce police involvement in school discipline

The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges is voicing concern over the push to put armed police or guards into American schools following the Newtown school massacre of 20 first-graders and six staff last December. On Tuesday, the Reno, Nev.-based group posted an excerpt of a letter sent to Vice President Biden, who has been leading a month-long effort to gather ideas for more effective gun restrictions and improved school safety. The White House is reportedly poised to reveal some recommendations Wednesday at a midday press conference. In its letter to Biden, the NCJFCJ expressed strong misgivings about the prospect of communities putting armed guards in schools – which could become even more likely if federal dollars are offered to help schools make that choice. Published reports indicated Biden’s task force was considering such a plan, which has also been pushed by Sen. Barbara Boxer, a liberal Democrat from California.

Juvenile Court Judges Blast “Beyond Scared Straight”

The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges is calling on the A&E network to present the facts about the new show called “Beyond Scared Straight.”   The judges are joining a chorus of experts who warn that Scared Straight tactics do not work on at-risk kids, and may actually harm them. The  show debuted on the A&E cable network in January. It is the fourth incarnation of a theatrical film and television series that takes children inside adult prisons in an attempt to scare them away from a life of crime. JJIE.org has interviewed national experts and reviewed at least ten research studies that say Scared Straight programs are ineffective and a waste of money. Here’s the full statement from the National Council of Juvenile Court Judges:
The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges is concerned that the A&E program “Beyond Scared Straight” misrepresents the effectiveness of such interventions with youthful offenders.

Judge Key: Show Us Evidence Your Program Really Works

The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges is looking for evidence-based programs that are effective in dealing with status offenders and their families. The new NCJFCJ President, Judge Michael Key of LaGrange, GA, sent a letter to his members across the country this week.  Here is part of that letter:
August 11, 2010

Dear Colleagues:

On March 14, 2010, the Board of Trustees of the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges (“the Council”) voted in support of the re-authorization of the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act, including the provision which would repeal the Valid Court Order Exception to the detention of status offenders. The re-authorization bill includes a phase-out period, a hardship clause, and support for resource allocation for status offenders and their families. The Council was aware of the concerns this position raised in places where there are scarce or ineffective resources for the status offender population, and received a resolution from the Georgia Council of Juvenile Court Judges calling upon us to address these concerns.  A copy of the Georgia Resolution is available here. The Council’s Board of Trustees presented a resolution addressing these issues to the Membership at the July 2010 Annual Conference in San Diego. The Membership approved the Council Resolution Regarding Efforts to Ensure Availability of Evidence-Based Services to Meet the Needs of Status Offenders and Their Families.

Atlanta to Host Child Abuse and Neglect Institute

The National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges will bring the Child Abuse and Neglect Institute to Atlanta. The event will take place at the Georgia State University Law School, October 12-15, 2010. 

From their flier:

“This week-long training program for dependency court judges brings together national and local faculty to teach on core topics including hearing practice, child development, substance abuse, and cutting–edge court improvement developments, among other topics.”

For more information contact  Julianna Ormsby, Sr. Program Manager for Training & Technical Assistance at jormsby@ncjfcj.org or Tracy Cooper, Information Specialist at tcooper@ncjfcj.org.