Should school problems that do not involve the police be included in JRB referrals?The JRB can be set up to handle only delinquency (criminal) cases or it can handle only status offenses such as runaway, truancy, defiance of school rules (FWSN) or any combination of cases.
One significant reason to handle school related status offenses is that the juvenile court generally requires that the school exhaust all community based programs to address the problem before the court will accept the case. The JRB can be viewed as the final community based program before a court referral is made. Also, because of recent changes in the FWSN law eliminating delinquency options when court orders are violated in FWSN case, courts have limited options in these cases and very often similar or even better outcomes can result from JRB intervention.
Studies are beginning to show that “school based arrests” are increasing. Many of these incidents are labeled as “delinquent acts” resulting in an arrest when they should be properly categorized as violations of school rules. Regardless of the label, many of these incidents would be more appropriate as JRB referrals rather than as arrests and referrals to court.
I would recommend that the JRB meet with school officials, court officials and the police assigned to the schools to discuss the issue and develop an appropriate response plan that uses the JRB rather than the court system.
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