Sunday, November 18, 2018

Real Talk Real Change 3 – Youth Rights – Right Now!!

January 29, 2012 by  
Filed under News, Opinion, Weekly Columns

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( A Dialogue On The Fair Representation And Equitable Treatment of 16 – 24 year olds.

A child, like all other human beings, has inalienable rights” Lucretia Mott
This historic dialogue was attended by several hundred youth of all ages, nationalities and cultures representing diversity throughout Jacksonville and Northeast Florida.

While Republicans engaged in debate at University of North Florida that were at times disrespectful and demeaning more important and far reaching debate and dialogues were diagnosed and discussed concerning the future of our community; the teens, tweens and young adults that reside here, make an economic impact, attend our educational institutions, and the affects of the criminal system on our youth.

The youth in attendance were able to ask questions generating an enriching discussion opening up further talks about the responsibilities and accountably of parents, law enforcement, politicians and educators. Professional Educators, Social Service providers, those that care for Foster children, Church Leaders, Health Department representatives and Law Enforcement representatives attended the event to get an understanding of
youths interpretation of their place in society.

Many of those attending were unaware of the existence of Youth Rights Laws nationally  and internationally, “Convention on the Rights of the Child” (

Even still learning about the types of rights; Cultural, Political, Economic, Educational, and Religious was new to many.

Those in the service to youth were probing and cautious about their roles and procedures related to Youth Rights in schools, classrooms and even in Ministry. The importance of youth understanding their rights was consistently discussed by the panelists using their unique professional experiences and careers backgrounds. The dialogue was guided by Lisa Buggs and Cal Jackson, moderators.

Panelist Dr. Goldhagen shared that the United States is the only country that does not recognize nor support adhering to youth rights and youth are seen as properly not individuals. Internationally youth are recognized as having rights even though they are sometimes not enforced, but they are respected as members of their respective countries and societies. Dr.  Jeffery Goldhagen, Physician of Pediatrics reinforced the importance of youth understanding that there are rights available to them and the best thing youth can do is to be educated in the rights they have. Empowering the discussion from a legal
and juvenile justice perspective, panelist Mr. Kevin Cobbin, Esq., Attorney explained that depending on the situation youth can exercise their rights when approached and questioned by law enforcement. The key is to be respectful and not confrontational.

To use their resources such as their cell phones to call parents and guardians to make them aware if they are being pulled over and youth can record their conversation they have with law enforcement officers. Many youth feel harassed and violated by police and are not aware they can refuse being searched if asked. They have a right to legal and parental council if questioned by the police and have a right not to answer questions if a parent or legal guardian or lawyer is not present.

Prof. William Jackson, M.Ed., Educator with DCPS and Edward Waters College encouraged the youth and parents to read the Student Code of Conduct that is provided at schools, to be informed about their rights in school. Many students and parents do not read the Student Code of Conduct so are not informed about their rights in school and the policies and procedures for discipline and consequences of behaviors that are questionable. 

The emphasis on educational empowerment, and to treat educators with respect because to receive respect you have to give respect. Prof. Jackson talked to parents about modeling behavior for their children and if parents are disrespectful to authority, teachers and administrators their children will follow.

Prof. Jackson, an instructor at EWC also discussed the responsibilities of students in higher education to understand that they are considered adults and expected to accept responsibility for their successes and failures. Not to blame instructors for low grades or failing because in the “real world” productivity and accountability are what matter, not excuses.

Panelists, Mr. Corey Carson, student of Florida State College of Jacksonville, Florida shared that youth feel that no one listens to them and they are not taken seriously. He advised for students to take an active role in politics, community development and be involved in creating the policies for youth in politics and education, have a collective voice in their churches also.

Finally, panelists Ms. Allison Smith, The Bridge has traveled the world, working with youth shared that problems youth have are worldwide. In the United States youth are similar worldwide with the struggles of acceptability and responsibility. To create affective change youth must be involved and organized in positive ways to make meaningful and worthwhile changes to the
conditions of youth. Youth and their parents should take education seriously to help develop future leaders that can bring positive and affective change for youth, preparing for the future.

A great deal of information was shared and the youth attending asked meaningful, intelligent, and community changing questions. Mr. Anthony Butler, Sr., Executive Director of E3 complimented the youth and parents attending, stating this is how movements develop and grow.

This being the third Real Talk Real Change brought to light the need for parents to continue to be involved in their children’s lives even as they progress through the educational system. Work  to keep youth out of the Judicial System where many become products of criminal behaviors that  destroy young people’s lives and have far reaching detrimental effects in employment and continued education. 

Mr. Butler shared that The North Florida Chapter of E3 has entrepreneurs who believe in giving back to the community they do business in. Resources are available for youth and their families that need help in finding the correct service and personnel to help youth navigate difficult challenges they may face.

For contact information or to request a meeting of the panelists please call (888) 525-2299 x 119 or To have one of the panelists come to speak on a particular subject to a youth group or church ministry please contact each panelists through E3 and provide your contact information to be given to the panelists you requested.

More information about Youth Rights can be found at Convention on the Rights of the Child, Duval County Public Schools Code of Conduct can be found and downloaded at:
Pictures of the event can be found at:

Staff Writer; William D. Jackson

Find out more about this talented writer over at; OCS For Education.

Also check out; http://www.About.Me/WilliamDJackson


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