"Tribunals," or disciplinary hearings in the public school system are held when a child has violated a school rule. When the school is considering suspending or expelling a student, the student has a right to be heard at a hearing, often called a “tribunal” hearing. At these hearings, evidence is presented by witnesses at the school such as other teachers or administration, or students. The child is also asked to speak and give their side of the story. Once all of the information has been presented, the hearing officer will decide if the child has broken the rule. I refer to this part of the hearing as “phase one.” My goal when representing a student in this phase of the hearing is to ensure that I prevent them and their families from making any kind of statement that could negatively impact a pending or potential juvenile court case. While the child may ultimately decide to take responsibility, this decision should be made only after they have seen all of the evidence and had the opportunity to fully weigh their choices and any future impact.
The dress code in juvenile court is an important yet sometimes overlooked aspect of the process. Many other concerns seem to outweigh this topic during court prep time and I have found it best to just spell out the ABC's of dressing for court. While much of this may seem obvious, you can never be too prepared.
When you walk in to the courthouse, you will see children and adults alike in all types of clothing, ranging from extremely casual to suit and tie. While there is no mandatory dress code, I strongly believe that dressing for court is of the utmost importance.
Founder of Non-Profit: B.R.A.K.E.S., a Teen Pro-Active Driving Course
NHRA Drag Racer and Radio Host
Meet Doug Herbert---an amazing individual and champion for our youth. Doug's story is touching and his work is powerful. In 2008, Doug lost his two young sons in an auto accident and vowed to find a way to prevent other families from experiencing this pain and grief. B.R.A.K.E.S. (Be Responsible and Keep Everyone Safe) was born that same year. This is not your typical driver's ed class! BRAKES courses are conducted in locations around the country in places like the Charlotte Motor Speedway and the Southern California at Pomona Fairplex, to name a few.
Students drive cars donated by KIA in a course that teaches them how to avoid accidents on a slalom course, how to handle distraction, car control and recovery, and what many students describe as the fun part of the course--the "panic stop," (driving as fast as they can and then slamming the brakes and whippping the wheel). Parents must attend this free course (which does involve a $99 refundable deposit) along with their teen. Doug's program is making a difference in the lives of teens across the country and statistics show there is approximately a 64% reduction in crashes of BRAKES graduates. To learn more about the program, gather some excellent tips from Doug, and find out how your child can participate (rumor has it the program is coming to the Atlanta Motor Speedway), read on!
:Spring is in the air and summer plans are in the making! In this blog, I would like to share several volunteer opportunities for teens to consider trying this summer. This list focuses on Cobb County and supplements the list of Atlanta opportunities I shared last year.
Please note many of these opportunities require parental supervision and/or parental consent. I hope you enjoy these suggestions and good luck planning your summer!
1) Good Samaritan Health Center of Cobb This is a great opportunity for those interested in health care. Requirements: 16 years old and up, photo I.D., immunization records and application. Contact: Email Megan Freeman to RSVP for orientation and the application.
I work with parents in my juvenile defense practice and am often asked to provide suggestions on how parents can prepare their children for the online world. While there is no magic bullet solution to this ongoing discussion, I do have a few helpful hints for parents to consider.
Internet Safety Discussion Begins at a Young Age
My first suggestion is to start talking about internet safety with your children at a young age. One of the best ways a parent can do this is by taking the time to sit down with your child, side by side, and go online with them.
Even if your 8 or 9 year old is only going online to play games, this practice is helpful because you have the opportunity to understand the lay of the land from their perspective. You can learn about what sites they like to visit and why they like them and ask them to walk you through particular games, apps, or sites. As you explore with your child, this opens the door for further discussion and gives you a platform to ask questions. You may ask them whether they have ever received unwanted communication by strangers online, or if they have ever felt unsafe online. It is much easier for a parent to require that they go online with a child at 8 years old, versus 15 or 16, so starting early is critical.
Kathryn Boortz has a passion for working with youth and their families. She is the founder of Boortz Law, a law firm that focuses on juvenile defense.