Zerline Hughes

Teaching Moment: Police Brutality and Raising a Black Son

What is happening right before our children’s eyes is the very R-rated stuff they’re not allowed to see at the movie theaters. This is the predicament that too many of us black parents are encountering right now with our young kids and teenagers. We find ourselves having to be gravely honest with them.

Remembering Trayvon Martin: A Death That Brought A Movement To Life

It was four years ago Friday that an unforeseen incident would be the catalyst to start a national movement. On the evening of Feb. 26, in Sanford, Florida, a 28-year-old man with a gun got out of his truck and confronted, chased, shot and killed a 17-year-old unarmed black kid. Trayvon Martin was merely walking home from a convenience store with a bag of Skittles and a can of Arizona Iced Tea.

Ending Zero Tolerance Actually Slashes Crime in New York Schools

When did making adults mad become a crime?
I asked myself this question shortly after I started judging in juvenile court when confronted with a docket inundated with disruptive students referred from the schools. Most were misdemeanor incidents involving fights, disorderly conduct, disrupting school, graffiti and theft.

Listen to Me: Change Is Always an Option

I grew up in a small town in South Carolina called Georgetown, 36 miles from Myrtle Beach. When I was 4 or 5 months old, my father passed, leaving my mother a single parent. It was me and my big brother, who is two years older.

Andrea L. Dennis

Schools Fail to Get It Right on Rap Music

School officials treat rap music as a serious threat to the school environment. Fear and misunderstanding of, as well as bias against, this highly popular and lucrative musical art form negatively shape their perspectives on this vital aspect of youth culture.

Judge Steven Teske

Law Enforcement Forced Into Role Confusion in Schools

“What we’ve got here is failure to communicate.”

The captain, a prison warden, uttered these words in the movie classic “Cool Hand Luke” after beating Luke with a whip for his stubborn disobedience.

These words describe the underlying cause of the South Carolina classroom altercation resulting in the firing of a deputy.

Should 24-Year-Old Offenders be Considered Juveniles?

LAS VEGAS — When the National Partnership for Juvenile Services annual symposium opened, Jason Bowser, a youth service director from Columbus, Ind., told an executive committee that one of the standing committees was focusing on the question of “What is a juvenile?”

It might seem an odd question for a gathering of folks who specialize in working with youth in the juvenile justice system, but really the question, even when not spoken, would be present in training sessions across the three-day symposium held here this week. Nor is it just a hypothetical question because nearly 250,000 young people under the age of 18 end up in the adult criminal justice system every year, according to the National Institute of Corrections report, “You’re an Adult Now: Youth in Adult Criminal Justice Systems.”

Liz Ryan, president and CEO of the Campaign for Youth Justice — in a session reflecting the “Adult Now” theme — reminded everyone that New York and North Carolina still consider juveniles to be adults at the ages of 16 or 17 in criminal proceedings, whereas in the rest of the states it’s 18. Ryan said a new report shows that each year 100,000 young people get sent to an adult facility and on any given day approximately 10,000 of them are in an adult facility. Once there, the correction system managers do have rules that treat the juvenile differently from the mainstream adult population. At times that means putting the kids into isolation.

Abandoned Atlanta: Teens Portray the Forgotten, the Unheard of, and the Remnants of a Complicated City

The sight of decrepit, abandoned buildings can evoke many different reactions. They can inspire or disgust, educate or anger, thrill or frighten. Abandoned buildings serve as a reminder of our history—as well as our disappointments—and the art created of them can paint a vivid picture of urban decay. Being the oddball out of capital cities, Atlanta was not built on a major body of water. Instead, it grew as a central railroad hub of ill repute.  It was a city of prostitution, gambling, and violence for a long time.

Facebook May Change Rules to Allow Children Under 13

For the first time, Facebook is considering allowing children under 13 to join the social networking site, according to a story in The Wall Street Journal. But a study last year by the Pew Internet & American Life Project found Facebook is already full of children younger than 13. According to the report, 46 percent of 12-year-olds are already using Facebook despite the prohibition, either with their parents’ permission or by lying about their age. The Wall Street Journal reports Facebook is researching policies and new technologies that will keep young children safe while using the page. Possibilities include giving parents control over their child’s account by linking the parent and child accounts together.