I. Introduction: Aims of the Unit
This unit is designed for seventh and eighth grade students to be used in Language Arts classes.
Its main focus will be on the juvenile justice system and the effect it will have upon the students in school and society at large. Also, it will focus on the Connecticut court system in order to acquaint students with knowledge of the state in which they live.
The crisis’ we face today in school safety and discipline are the rights of an overwhelming percentage of students who come to school ready to work and learn, who show respect for rules and authority, who don’t carry handguns, curse teachers, or terrorize their classmates and school staff.
We as educators can have wonderful curricula and assessments in place, but it will not matter if we do not meet basic, obvious common sense conditions that make schools safe, disciplined and orderly. The students whose opportunity for a good education is being destroyed by a relatively small percentage of students who flout rules and the rights of others need our assistance.
Our world has always been a busy and bustling place, inhabited by people of all kinds. Some are criminal, unscrupulous, and thoughtless. The law has always been necessary to guide and govern the conduct of human affairs so that everyone may have the chance to live in safety, to have wrongs righted, and to be treated fairly.
Today we in the United States live by a great complexity of laws, as do people throughout the world. Like all legal systems, ours touch every area of our lives. Laws differ from state to state. Under our governmental system states are permitted to enact their laws for their own use, especially criminal laws, with our federal laws being the only ones that cover the nation as a whole. Students will be able to concentrate on laws, questions and points that young people are known to ask most often and on those areas that seem to be of the greatest concern, such as school, work and any legal problem they may encounter. Finally, I will consider also young people’s duties and responsibilities under the law.
Far too many youngsters end up in juvenile court not knowing what to expect or what it’s all about.
Juvenile court is a special court that handles cases involving children who have committed crimes or who need the care and protection of society. Most of these courts deal with cases of delinquency or neglect. Most delinquency cases involve children who have broken the law or who are difficult to control. Negligence cases involve children whose parents do not or can not care for them properly. The United States has an extensive juvenile court system.
Juveniles do not realize or take into account the results of their negative behavior. They continue their negative behavior without realizing that society will punish them. They are members of society with parents who do not fully shoulder their responsibility when it comes to their children.
Much attention has been given to the problems of schools as a product of our society. Violence in our society also produces violence in our schools. In a fundamental way, a society is also a product of its schools.
If we are to have a better society of young people our schools must continue to improve and impart knowledge at an early age to our very young in order for them to acquire knowledge and especially social skills. The heart of a school is the knowledge transmitted from teacher to student, be it social worker, teacher, psychologist, parents, and the like. Without this nothing else counts very much. Students need to be aware of the dangers in our society and taught how best to react in certain situations, especially negative ones. Their behavior and the results of their actions will follow them throughout their life. It will affect their future when they are ready to face the real and working world, and find that they are not the productive member of society that they want to be or that they thought they were.
Teachers can help students become productive members of society by first, becoming familiar with their students, familiar with what they know and are able to do, familiar with their ways of knowing and doing how best they might work to acquire new skills and construct new knowledge. Secondly, teachers can help students by knowing what they need to learn. That which a student needs to learn is individual. This student knows one thing, that student knows something else.
To almost every individual who works with young people, it is clear that our youth today face multiple problems. The main objective of this unit is exploration of student knowledge about the juvenile justice system so that we are able to give each student what he or she desires. Also as students learn how the system works, especially with direct personal involvement, it may help to create a positive self-image about themselves, stirring their sense of values as a member of society, and develop awareness of their problems and needs, as well as the problems and needs of others in society today. Together we will need to explore and develop what general knowledge we are familiar with, perhaps through related information and experiences, and go on to discover more specifically our juvenile criminal justice system as we discuss our interests and needs.
The lesson plans have been arranged to discover the students feelings, how and why they have obtained information about the juvenile justice system, and what is needed to stay clear of the wrong path.
Educating and counseling youths about the juvenile justice system requires a positive presentation. The student’s formal and informal educational backgrounds, learning aptitudes, level of moral reasoning, and emotional maturity will affect how they learn and deal with this information in their personal lives