Tag Archives | Teens

16 Year-Old Given 15 Year Prison Sentence After Judge Changes Terms of Plea Agreement

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PIC: Cooper Van Huizen (C)

“I am altering the deal. Pray I don’t alter it further.”

A 16-year-old Utah boy was sentenced earlier this month to up to 15 years in a maximum security prison after a judge changed the terms of a plea agreement.

Cooper Van Huizen pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree felony robbery for his role in a home invasion late last year.

The teen, who had no prior criminal history, and his parents believed the plea deal would result in 180 days in jail.

But District Judge Ernie Jones told Van Huizen at the May 7 sentencing hearing he believed the terms recommended by prosecutors and the probation board were “too soft” and instead sent the boy to Utah State Prison for one to 15 years.

Van Huizen cried and begged for mercy as he was led from the courtroom handcuffed in front of sobbing family members.

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What Was Peer Pressure?

666girlsRemember “peer pressure”? Of late it has been largely discarded as the go-to means of explaining/demonizing youth behavioral patterns, but The New Inquiry offers a look back:

Parents have mostly given up on peer pressure as a paradigm defining element of molding their teenagers. Adults now do not believe in peer pressure so much as media pressure (“Miley Cyrus made my daughter a pot-smoking slut” instead of “Peer pressure made my daughter a pot-smoking slut”) or technological pressure (“My son doesn’t get any sleep because he stays up all night texting his friends”), fully embracing the awful politics of moral panics that dominated generational relations for the entire second half of the 20th century.

But what parents and educators so often labeled as peer pressure was actually the disease-like spread of ideas. It’s a degree of symbolic freedom and movement that made adults uncomfortable. The truly horrible things that happen to teenage lives are more the result of socioeconomic reality (gang violence), the failure of the mental health state (drugs, alcohol, shooting up the school), the horrific patriarchy of larger adult society (rape), or the all-around idiotic idea of the “school” as we construct it than they ever are the sole province of a teens en masse fearing social rejection.

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Police Claim That Yet Another Teen Handcuffed In Back of Cruiser Shot Himself In the Head

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Picture: wolfdog (CC)

The epidemic of  suicides among improbably flexible teenage boys armed with undetectable firearms continues. In all cases, the boys were in the backs of police cruisers…

Via WCNT:

A Durham teen died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, Durham Police Chief Jose Lopez said Wednesday afternoon at a news conference.

Lopez held a 3 p.m. news conference and started by extending condolences to the family of Jesus Huerta, who died in a police cruiser in November. Huerta was 17.

He said the noise heard by the officer was a gunshot, and said it was a gunshot wound to the head.

Lopez said a handgun was found in the car and that Huerta was still handcuffed from behind. He said the wound was self-inflicted.

“The medical examiner’s office has confirmed that Jesus Huerta died from a gunshot wound to his head,” Lopez said. “Whether that wound was accidental or intentional is unknown at this time.”

Lopez said Huerta was searched, and police are not sure where how he had the weapon.

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Japanese Government Opens “Internet Fasting Camps” To Treat Addicted Teens

Computer_labCould you survive these brutal camps? Via the International Business Times:

In response to rising numbers of young people who are “pathologically addicted” to the internet, Japan is opening up so-called “internet fasting camps” to wean youths off the web. Researchers at Japan’s Nihon University estimate that about 8.1 percent of the country’s students are addicted to the internet.

The Tokyo government’s education ministry will introduce “web fasting camps” to help young people disconnect from their PCs, laptops, mobile phones and hand-held devices. Akifumi Sekine, a spokesman for the education ministry, added: “We want to get them out of the virtual world and to encourage them to have real communication with other children and adults.”

Youths forcibly removed from their beloved mobile devices may suffer withdrawal symptoms, i.e., “cold turkey.”

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One In Five Teenage Boys Is Now Diagnosed With ADHD

The New York Times on mentally-imbalanced becoming the new normal:

Nearly one in five high school age boys in the United States and 11 percent of children over all have received a medical diagnosis of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, according to new data from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The figures showed that an estimated 6.4 million children ages 4 through 17 had received an A.D.H.D. diagnosis at some point in their lives, a 16 percent increase since 2007 and a 53 percent rise in the past decade. About two-thirds of those with a current diagnosis receive prescriptions for stimulants like Ritalin or Adderall, which can drastically improve the lives of those with A.D.H.D. but can also lead to addiction, anxiety and occasionally psychosis.

Even more teenagers are likely to be prescribed medication in the near future because the American Psychiatric Association plans to change the definition of A.D.H.D.

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Is Psychedelic Toad Licking Trending Among German Teens?

So claims an article in the country’s paper of record. The point is that fighting a war on drugs will become increasingly surreal as the ways in which people get high multiply. From Der Spiegel:

“Toad-licking, that’s the latest thing,” says Willi Stier, a police officer from Mannheim. He points to a photo of the toad he’s referring to, a stocky creature from America that can be ordered online.

The toad has glands that can be induced to secrete a psychoactive substance with squeezing. Young people pass the animals around at parties like joints. “Get high, have fun,” says the police officer.

Stier says that some 80 to 90 new drugs have spread in recent years. He believes that 28 new substances were classified under Germany’s narcotics law over the last year, but there are more than that.  “Drug users look for alternative products or modify the recipes, keeping themselves a step ahead of lawmakers,” says Stier.

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Horror Stories From Christian Group Homes For Troubled Youths

xtian1x400Via Mother Jones, a look into the networks of unregulated, fundamentalist Baptist troubled-teen boarding homes active across the South and Midwest. Worst summer vacation ever…ex-residents describe programs of brainwashing through violent punishment, sensory deprivation, lack of contact with the outside world, and memorization of the bible:

New Beginnings describes itself as a character-building facility for “troubled teens,” and what Jeannie Marie heard in church that day was that this might be a place for her daughter to heal. While jogging earlier that year, the 17-year-old (whom I’ll call Roxy) had been pulled into a vehicle and assaulted by a group of men. Since then, she had begun acting up at home, as well as sneaking out and drinking. Two weeks after seeing the girls in church, Jeannie Marie and her husband left Roxy in McNamara’s care with the promise that she would receive counseling twice a week and stay at New Beginnings no longer than two months.

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Teens Largely Unbothered by Vulgar Slurs Online, New Study Finds

Rated for TeenGreg Howard writes in Slate:

If someone called us these names to our faces, or even if we overheard them, how would we react? Ask them to stop? Throw a punch? Walk away? All of the above, and in that order? Now what would we do if those words popped up on our Facebook wall, Twitter feed or cell phone? Would we … laugh?

According to a recent national Associated Press-MTV poll of young people between 14 and 24, most teens and young 20-somethings think it’s alright to use slurs among friends or when joking around in cyberspace. Seventy-one percent say that people are more likely to use slurs online, and 51 percent encounter discriminatory words and images on social networking sites. Only half of those surveyed said they would probably ask someone using such language online to stop.

Most say they feel more comfortable with slurs online because people are just trying to be funny or cool.

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‘Kids For Cash’ Judge Gets 28-Year Prison Sentence

ap_Mark_Ciavarella_nt_110818_wgPennsylvania Judge Mark Ciavarella jailed teenagers for minor offenses (e.g. satirizing a teacher on Myspace) in return for over $1 million in kickbacks from the area's for-profit youth prison. Mother Sandy Fonzo alleges that Judge Ciavarella is only "the tip of the iceberg" in a practice that is occurring across the country. Fonzo's star-wrestler son, whom Ciavarella sentenced, committed suicide after spending six months imprisoned among violent offenders as punishment for being caught with a marijuana pipe. In her words, "Judge Ciavarella is proof that for-profit incarceration cannot happen." The Kids For Cash scandal involved more than 30 state and local government officials and contractors, says ABC News.
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Should Kids Be Taught Safe Drug Use In School?

teen-pot-smoking-methodsFood for thought: is “abstinence only” education as flawed in regard to drugs as it is in regards to sex? (I recommend re-utilizing the slogan “Stop, Drop, and Roll” for purposes of drug education.) This comes on the heels of NYC Mayor Mike Bloomberg’s commendable decision to mandate sex ed in the city’s public school system. Via AlterNet:

I applaud the Mayor’s campaign to teach sex education in school. While many parents may hope that their teenagers won’t be sexually active, the reality is that most teenagers will have sex and it is important that they are educated about the risks.

The same principles and goals of sex education should be applied to drug education. While many schools already provide honest sex education that acknowledges the reality that some teens will have sex, our nation’s drug education programs treat abstinence as the sole measure of success and the only acceptable teaching option.

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