By Daily Reflector Staff
Reducing law enforcement involvement in misconduct at school is one way leaders in Greene and Lenoir counties are trying to keep kids in school and out of court.
Judges serving those communities were joined by law enforcement officers and school leaders on Friday to launch the School-Justice Partnership in Greene and Lenoir counties.
Representatives signed what they called a Partnership Agreement Community Teams with Schools document that outlines strategies for addressing student misconduct.
“The strategies implemented by the P.A.C.T.S. agreement address minor juvenile misconduct in a way that provides more accountability for juveniles and their parents than the adult court system, which does not involve parents in the process,” said District Court Judge Elizabeth Heath. “It is particularly important for the public to know that this process not only considers the juvenile but also focuses on keeping schools and the surrounding communities safe.”
Often when students are suspended and expelled for bad behavior, they are referred to court, according to a news release from the partnership. The release said students are more likely to repeat a grade, drop out of school, and engage in higher levels of disruptive behavior, according to a 2011 report by the New York the Council of State Governments Justice Center.