A Michigan teen was put into juvenile detention after a federal judge decided that not doing her online schoolwork was reason to send her back to juvenile detention as a parole violation, according to a ProPublica story.

Grace, 15-years old, was in trouble previously for stealing and fighting with her mother. Grace was incarcerated in May, according to ProPublica, for not completing online coursework when her school switched to remote learning in light of the coronavirus.

Advertisement

Michigan activists and attorneys report that Grace’s case is probably one of the only of its kind. Juvenile court case confidentiality makes cases hard to compare with others. What is certain is that the judge’s decision is against legal and education recommendations that health and safety are prioritized in the pandemic, instead of schoolwork.

Grace has ADHD and found online learning difficult because it lacked live instruction and the structure of the in-person school. Grace said she fell behind. Grace is Black at a majority white school.

Grace’s mom Charisse is extremely frustrated with the situation and now hasn’t been with her daughter since she was sentenced. “Juneteenth is all about freedom and you can’t even celebrate. What do you have? It has been taken away. For us and our culture, that for me was the knife stuck in my stomach and turning,” Charisse told the news outlet. “That is our history, being shackled. And she didn’t deserve that.”

Activists and advocates are urging the legal system to be kind to juveniles in new and uncomfortable situations, of which th pandemic is certainly one. “Who can even be a good student right now?” said Ricky Watson Jr., executive director of the National Juvenile Justice Network. “Unless there is an urgent need, I don’t understand why you would be sending a kid to any facility right now and taking them away from their families with all that we are dealing with right now.”

Advertisement

Judge Mary Ellen Brennan, said in her ruling that Grace, “hasn’t fulfilled the expectation with regard to school performance. I told her she was on thin ice and I told her that I was going to hold her to the letter, to the order, of the probation.”

Charisse told ProPublica, “Every day I go to bed thinking, and wake up thinking, ‘How is this a better situation for her?’”

Read all our coverage on the protests against racism in One Green Planet:

Here’s what you can do:

Many organizations like Black Lives Matter, Color of Change, and the NAACP are working to empower black Americans and achieve justice for those impacted by racist systems.

Advertisement

Also, remember to register to vote if you haven’t already. This is one of the simplest ways to make your voice heard as a citizen.Here are some resources for you:

Places to donate:

Petitions to Sign:

Sign this petition to bring Grace back home to her mother!

For a more extensive resource list, please see the collection put together by Black Lives Matter.

Through this grief and anger, we must unite and work together to create the change we want to see. Let’s make sure no black child has to ever say these heartbreaking words ever again.

If you’re attending a protest, please be safe and careful and maintain social distancing, if possible.

 

Advertisement

Advertisement