What can a juvenile do if a juvenile court judge operates on “blind trust” with regard to the school system?
Doesn’t the court have to be told the student has an IEP? Shouldn’t the judge be required to have complete school records? The school labeled the student “disruptive” and “defiant” for . . .
. . . being late and not having homework done. When the judge saw the words “defiant, disruptive, and truant,” things went downhill fast.
The district started the steamroller, but they didn’t come along for the ride. They failed to provide information to the Court about the child’s disabilities and his IEP. Ultimately, the student won in court, but had no chance for a settlement even with an excellent neuropsych eval attesting to specific LDs.
Most juvenile court judges are advocates for children with disabilities but they can’t fulfill this role if they don’t have relevant information about the child and the case. You ask, “Shouldn’t the judge be required to have complete school records?” The judge can’t request information he doesn’t know exists. If the judge received school records, I imagine he thought they were complete.
Adults need to ensure that the judge has the necessary information. If the child was represented by an attorney, it’s the attorney’s job to get this information before the judge. If the child is accompanied by a parent or guardian, this person is responsible for providing the judge with this information. If the child was arrested, he or she will usually be interviewed by a juvenile probation officer or intake officer before going to court. This person takes a history, requests records and provides information to the Court.
Before Pete went to law school, he worked as a juvenile probation officer for 10 years. He taught judges how schools work (and don’t work), how quickly many schools give up on children for whom learning is difficult, and about parent and child blaming. He taught judges about the link between learning disabilities, not learning to read, and serious behavior problems — the Schoolhouse to Jailhouse Pipeline.
Most juvenile court judges were receptive to suggestions about how to help children who get into trouble. You’ll see this when you read his article, Strategies When Children Are Arrested for School Related Behavior Problems at http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/jj.kids.arrest.pw.htm
There will always be hard-nosed judges in the justice system. Not many end up in juvenile court.