Diversion program seeks to reach juvenile offenders in Onslow schools


The focus is on the lives of young people

It was the opening speech by Jacksonville Police Chief Mike Yaniero at a Monday afternoon press conference, where JPD and other county officials gathered to announce the creation of a youth diversion program for minor offenses.

An interagency program with JPD, Onslow County Sheriff’s Office, Onslow County DSS, Onslow District Attorney’s Office, Onslow County Schools and several members of the judiciary, help tackle lower-level offenses such as common assault, communication of threats, theft, trespass, and property damage, among others, outside of court.

The reason for this is the continuing backlog of cases at Onslow and for lawyers to focus on more serious offenses.

Which is something District Attorney Ernie Lee reiterated during his speech.

“Some cases should be hijacked. Law enforcement and the district attorney’s office should have the discretion to say that some of these cases should be tried at a more local level, hopefully with parents, as they should be responsible for the children, ”added Lee, while the responsibility for the students will also be key to the program.

Problem solving approach

Schools will make all reasonable efforts to resolve school misconduct using appropriate and equitable classroom interventions, support services, community strategies, and a layered support system.

However, each student’s decision must be tailored to take into account the specific circumstances and needs of the student as well as the seriousness of the misconduct and its impact on educational programs.

When determining appropriate interventions and consequences, the program will consider relevant factors including, but not limited to:

  • Age, state of health, risks, needs and disability or special education status of the pupil
  • Intent, context, past conduct and recording of student behavior;
  • Previous interventions with the student
  • Willingness of the student to make an entire injured party
  • Parents’ willingness to resolve any identified problem
  • The seriousness of the incident and the degree of harm caused
  • The effect on the educational environment through the continued presence of the pupil in the school.

5th Judicial District District Court Chief Justice Sarah Seaton explained when she started working with the juvenile court in 1986 that crimes such as shoplifting, assault, disorderly conduct with students was the most common.

Today is a different story than what Seaton has seen in the past.

“We deal with very serious armed robberies, drug cases, assaults involving firearms. It takes a long time to process these cases. We are delighted to have this diversion program so that some of these cases do not need to come to court, ”Seaton said.

Respond to student misconduct

A statement from JPD describes how and when student misconduct will be dealt with.

The most effective way to hold students accountable for their actions is to provide them with the support of teachers and school officials who interact with them on a daily basis. while the appropriate response to academic misconduct must be addressed as outlined in Onslow County Board of Education policy and school code of conduct.

A multi-level student support system will be used and is designed to help professionals at each level of intervention understand the options available to remedy the misconduct.

The intervention levels include:

  • class intervention
  • intervention of the school administration
  • team intervention in a school environment
  • law enforcement intervention

The program will make the school principal responsible for determining appropriate diversion and disciplinary measures. School Resource Officers (SROs) will also have the discretion to issue a warning notice based on the violation.

If a student receives more than two warnings in a calendar year, other actions may result in an arrest, subpoena, or referral to juvenile court. If these are ineffective, criminal charges may follow.

Onslow Education Council Chairman Bob Williams added that the program is important to appropriately manage the crimes that are committed.

“As we go through this, it is important not to stigmatize our young people. They made mistakes because they are immature. It is important that we have a program to address this problem in a reasonable way and their enable them to get the education they deserve. “

Journalist Trevor Dunnell can be contacted by email at [email protected] Please consider supporting local journalism by signing up for a digital subscription for as little as $ 1 per month. JDNews.com. Subscribe now


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