Judge Delivers Bad News to Teen Detained Over Homework

Michigan 15-year-old has to stay in juvenile detention center for several more months
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 21, 2020 10:40 AM CDT
Teen Detained Over Homework Could Be Locked Up for Months
This 2018 photo shows a hallway at the Shenandoah Valley Juvenile Center in Staunton, Va. Grace is held at a different center in suburban Detroit.   (Shenandoah Valley Juvenile Center via AP)

A Michigan teen placed in juvenile detection after failing to do her homework won't be getting out in the near future, despite claims that the case represents "the criminalization of Black children," per NBC New York. The 15-year-old identified as Grace told Oakland County Judge Mary Ellen Brennan on Monday that she missed her mom and wanted to go home. But Brennan decided Grace wasn't ready to be with her mother, whom she's accused of assaulting in November in an argument over a phone, and is better off in the juvenile detention center that's been her home since mid-May—the result of a probation violation regarding homework. Brennan noted Grace was detained "because I found her to be a threat of harm to her mother," per ProPublica. But Grace said there'd been no incident since November. "That altercation should not be defining who I should be now," she said.

Brennan acknowledged Grace was "blooming." But "the worst thing I can do is say you are doing great, now let's get you home and watch the whole thing blow up," she went on. She said Grace needed to finish counseling programs at Children's Village in suburban Detroit, which caseworkers said would take 3.5 months. Grace argued she was "getting behind in my actual schooling" and receiving inadequate therapy. "I believe placement in my home with the same, consistent therapy that I was getting beforehand, and love and support that will always be around me, will be a benefit for myself, my mom, my family, and my community," she said. ProPublica reports Grace and her mother "embraced for more than a minute" in their first physical contact since May 14 and "sobbed audibly through their masks before leaving the courtroom separately." The next hearing is set for September. (More juvenile detention stories.)

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