A legislative bill that was passed earlier during the year was a welcomed source of help to both the juvenile justice system and the school board in Utah. Now, the State Board of Education wants to increase its effectiveness by asking for more funds and resources to support the school’s and teacher’s role in hopefully keeping more children out of the justice system and juvenile detention, said KLS.com in an article published November 5.
The new HB239 bill made wide reaching changes to how the state had to run the juvenile courts and detention centers. It rewrote the rules on how juvenile offenders are treated in juvenile courts. However, any changes could not put public security or safety in peril.
The bill concentrates on early intervention before the anymore negative behavior continues.
Emphasizes early intervention before serious criminality begins. Its main priority is trying to keep lower risk young people out of detention facilities and instead keep them at home while utilizing programs to assist them and their families.
A "tiered response to school-based behavior" was also initiated so students who commit truancy or other less serious crimes are being dealt with first by professionals that are not part of the justice system. These intervention specialists are non-court personnel trained to try to get to the root of the problem early on, thereby hoping to guide the juvenile in the right direction quickly.
Since the initial first method of intervention is the school system, it became more obvious that many school personnel did not know when they should address certain issues or what resources they could utilize to help a troubled student. It was unclear as to which offenses should be dealt at the school level and which should be referred to the justice system.
Even though the juvenile justice system have provided names of available resources and specified what less serious infractions or offenses should be handled by schools first, help and resources are not always available in more remote state counties.
So, on November 2, Deputy State Superintendent Patty Norman stated that the State School Board plans to make a legislative request for additional resources to address this difficult situation. Not only are rural and remote schools in need of more nearby resources, but personnel need training programs and other support to know how to properly utilize resources and help their students in need.
Attorney’s Terry Spencer and Gavin Jensen of the law firm Spencer & Jensen, LLC are governmental legal pros, but they can also help with any other legal needs that arise.