Durham: 2 tall young men and a short middle-aged women stand together in front of a brick building.

North Carolina’s Raise the Age Law Highlights How Schools Handle Discipline

“We don’t know how many students are casualties of a racist system, in which they are punished for being in their bodies, for being brown and black kids, and we’ve got to do something,” said Fatimah Salleh, mother of two former students at Durham School of the Arts (DSA) in Durham, N.C. “If we are not really aggressive about it, then it will be the way America has always deemed it to be.”

In North Carolina, Some Courts Shutter For Now Due to Pandemic

Many states have not yet acted on advocates’ desire for quick release of all minors incarcerated for nonviolent, mostly misdemeanor offenses who are at risk of infection with COVID-19. There is pushback from opposing sides who feel releasing currently locked-up youth poses a safety risk.

raise the age: 3 Teenage Boys happily Drinking Beer indoors

Effort to Raise the Age in North Carolina Was Long, Exhausting March

With one worried phone call from the mother of a 16-year-old boy, the modern movement that brought raise the age to North Carolina began, drawing legislators, activists, lawyers, parents and kids into a battle that lasted more than 13 years before the state passed its RTA bill in summer 2017.

North Carolina: Building with Union County Judicial Center on front

Why Did North Carolina Raise the Age in 2017?

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — With Raise the Age taking effect in less than a month, North Carolina is preparing to receive new 16- and 17-year-old offenders into the juvenile system. 

The state has not increased its juvenile age since 1919. Revamping juvenile justice has been in discussion since the 1990s, but the legislature sidestepped raising the age. The reform passed two years ago. So what about North Carolina circa 2017 led to the passage of raise the age? Recent research on juvenile crime gave the legislation factual legitimacy, while pressure from being the only state to still prosecute 16- and 16-year-olds as adults gave the bill political momentum. 

Some credit goes to former state Chief Justice Mark Martin.