Classrooms, Not Courtrooms

Randall Page

Virginia is number one in the nation in the school-to-prison pipeline. Judge Robert Brewbaker, Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court for the Fifth Circuit (which includes Suffolk, Isle of Wight, Franklin, and Southampton), is seeking to change that. On Friday, March 25, 2016, Judge Brewbaker hosted the Classrooms, Not Courtooms seminar for local government officials, attorneys, school employees, and others involved in working with local Juveniles.

Judge Steve Teske, a family law judge from Georgia, started things off by introducing the concept of the school-to-prison pipeline. He voiced, what many defense attorneys have been saying for years, that prosecutors and government officials often tout their toughness on crime; but they fail to realize what it truly means to be tough on crime. As an example, he spoke of a teen who had been repeatedly assaulted by a family member day after day, who was being harassed by another student. When the teacher called her out for talking, the student reacted by throwing her desk and cursing at the teacher. Rather than having the girls arrested, the school resource officer sat with the juvenile and asked helped break down the walls. As a result, the girls confessed about being repeatedly molested by the family member and the family member was eventually sent to prison for many years. This, Judge Teske said, is what being tough on crime is all about. The Virginia Secretary of Education, Anne Holton, also spoke on initiatives the government is trying to take lower the Commonwealth on the school-to-prison pipeline. She congratulated the school districts that are training school resource officers who are more interested in maintaining the safety of the school and less worried about increasing crime statistics by making arrests. The meeting ended with a panel of a local school board member, local superintendent, the Secretary, and a school attorney. They gave some of the initiatives that have worked where they were to involve the community in helping the school system achieve better results for our juveniles. They also raised the point that parents play a very important role in helping the school system maintain order and lower the crime statistics. As part of the training, attorneys who take court-appointed representation of children as guardian ad litems were able to obtain credits toward that certification. Many of our attorneys are qualified guardian ad litems certified to assist children in various cases. If you are in need of an experienced family law attorney, please consider a Randall Page attorney. We tirelessly fight to protect the rights of the people of Western Tidewater.

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