Showing posts from August, 2014

Criminal Charges and School Codes of Conduct

It's August and many student athletes around the country are gearing up for fall sports.  Ma'Lik Richmond is one of them.  Ma'Lik Richmond was adjudicated delinquent in March of 2013 of raping a 16 year old girl in Steubenville, Ohio.  Maybe you've heard about it on television, radio, or the internet; basically there was outrage everywhere.  He played in a scrimmage Tuesday.  Is this right?  Is this fair?  That a Tier II sex offender, who must register every 6 months for the next 20 years is permitted to participate on a school district-sanctioned sports team?  

At what point does a student's right to an education include extracurricular activities?  When I attended Mifflinburg High School in the early 2000's, if a student violated the Code of Conduct, or refused to sign it, they relinquished their right to participate in extracurricular activities.  And, to be fair, Ma'Lik Richmond was barred from these activities for the balance of last school year, after …

Domestic Violence Homicide and Custody

Today, the The News Item published an article about Richard Curran seeking custody of his children.  In 2005, Curran murdered his ex-wife, also the mother of their children.  He was sentenced in 2008 to serve a life sentence and is currently incarcerated in SCI-Albion, Erie County.  He filed a petition asking for periods of partial physical custody of their two daughters, ages 16 and 12, which would include visits at the correctional institution where he is housed.
This may seem surprising, but Pennsylvania's laws allow for any person to file for almost anything through the court system and then at a hearing must assert their legal basis for filing that paperwork.

Currently, Pennsylvania's custody law states the following about parents convicted of murder in the first degree, as Richard Curran was.  

§ 5303. Award of custody, partial custody or visitation.(b.2) Parent convicted of murder.--No court shall award custody, partial custody or visitation to a parent who has been…

Pennsylvania, Institutional Sexual Assault, and Teacher "Impropriety"

Recently, a report was issued that the number of claims of inappropriate relationships, sexual abuse and misconduct filed against teachers in Pennsylvania is 2nd in the United States only to Texas.  This report supports the idea that abusers/rapists/sexual predators, whatever you want to call them, are not the scary guy who is already listed on Megan's Law.  They can be coaches, pillars of the community, or teachers.  Just because someone's criminal background check comes back clean does not mean s/he is not a predator.  It is important to have conversations with children and young adults about their bodies and boundaries.  Transitions is thankful to be able to provide educational programs in many local school districts to help children and teens navigate these issues and to feel safe disclosing abuse.  The high number of reports made could be  attributed to the increase in students feeling comfortable enough to report,which is a good thing.  It could also show that law enforc…