Utterly Meaningless » Blog Archive » NICE GUY AT WORK

    Filed at 5:25 am under by dcobranchi


    In a piece on bullying there’s a great quote from a judge:

    As a former high school principal, Berkshire Juvenile Court Judge Paul E. Perachi has seen bullying as an educator and a jurist. He said there is “more of a zero-tolerance attitude” now in schools, and teachers are more likely to involve the police and the criminal justice system.

    …Perachi sees not only the bullies in his courtroom, he also sees their victims — children so scared of their tormentors that they stop going to school and end up violating truancy laws.

    “I have seen kids wind up in front of a judge because they are sick to their stomach at the idea of going to school, and they are afraid,” Perachi said. “It’s not unusual for me to order a child to go to school.”

    I hope he wakes up this morning, sees himself quoted, and hangs his head in shame. Because if he really meant what he said, he ought to lose his job. No one who has so (apparent) little regard for the feelings of young kids ought to be sitting in Family Court.

    3 Responses to “NICE GUY AT WORK”

    Comment by
    December 21st, 2005
    at 8:49 am

    His quote makes me sick to my stomach.

    Comment by
    December 21st, 2005
    at 9:49 am

    Shame on you, Daryl! It’s obvious this guy is just following orders. It’s someone else’s fault these kids are being abused daily. It’s just his job to makes sure they’re in a position to be abused (daily).

    Comment by
    December 21st, 2005
    at 10:36 am

    My guess is that the judge in this case was misquoted. Being a judge in a juvenile court is a job I would never want to do. The stakes can be way too high and the resources too scarce. But most truancy cases are probably pretty cut and dried legally; what other remedies does the judge have at his discretion? The law would look at breaking the truancy laws as a wrongful use of self-help; the correct remedy would be for the kid and his family to go to the school and the police, etc. The poor kids are represented by appointed lawyers (if at all) that don’t have time to really address the cases they get, and the parents (and the system) doesn’t really pursue it beyond the trial court. An attorney friend of mine once called the juvenile court system “a trench court.”

    I would think that the kids that have been scared to the point that they go truant would have some fundamental rights that would trump the compulsory attendance laws. At the very least I would think there is a ninth amendment liberty interest in avoiding getting beat up. I would certainly argue it that way, but that kind of legal argument probably wouldn’t sway in a juvenile court. It would probably take a civil action, and then not until the appelate process. It could make some interesting case law; the only resolutions I can see are to: a.) order the school to clean up the bullying or provide a viable alternative to educate the kid at pubic expense, or b.) declare that the compulsory attendance laws are unconstitutional and that Johnny doesn’t have a right to a state paid primary and secondary education. The first won’t work unless there are resources to tear down the large consolidated schools and build new smaller ones, and I doubt there are many trial court judges that would take the second approach. Some states, like Ohio, have case law on the books that says Johnny does have a fundamental right to a tax-payer provided education. It would make an interesting case.