Monday, September 30, 2013

In Re M.R. (Cal. Ct. App. - Sept. 30, 2013)

I just don't know what you do with some people.  Seriously.  What do you do?

M.R. is fifteen years old.  We want him to be a productive member of society.  There's a real downside if he's not.  Both to himself -- obviously -- and to society in general.

But here's his status quo:

"On August 2, 2012, the Alameda County District Attorney filed a juvenile wardship petition alleging that 15-year-old M.R. was a habitual truant under section 601, subdivision (b). It was alleged that M.R. had missed 255 school periods during the previous school year without a valid reason. M.R.'s alleged truancy was the sole basis for the juvenile wardship petition.

M.R. admitted the allegations of the petition at a hearing conducted on October 19, 2012. The court declared him a ward and ordered that his care, custody, and conduct were to be supervised by his probation officer. He was directed to reside in the home of his parents. The court imposed a number of probation conditions, including that M.R. attend school daily, comply with a 6:00 p.m. curfew, and not stay away from home overnight without the prior permission of his probation officer.

The court conducted a progress report hearing on November 30, 2012. In the report prepared for that hearing, the probation officer stated that M.R. had failed to attend school daily and had failed to abide by his 6:00 p.m. curfew. According to the report, M.R. had attended only two of the 15 school days since the last court hearing and arrived home at around 11:00 p.m. almost every night. At the progress report hearing, the court imposed an additional condition requiring M.R. to attend Weekend Training Academy (WETA) three times. WETA, a weekend program that is an alternative to detention, provides wards with community service opportunities as well as social values training. . . .

The court conducted the next progress report hearing on January 4, 2013. In the report prepared for that hearing, the probation officer stated that M.R. had gone to only one out of the three WETA's he was ordered to attend. M.R. called his probation officer and told him he was unable to attend any further WETA's due to illness. However, M.R.'s mother reported that he was not ill when he claimed to be. . . . The probation officer also reported that M.R. continued to violate his 6:00 p.m. curfew, had gone to Reno without his permission, and continued to be absent from school. For the one-month period ending December 13, 2012, M.R. had missed six full days of school in addition to 19 period absences. M.R. had received all F's in the previous quarter . . . .”

Skipping 255 periods.  Getting home every night at 11:00.  Going to Reno without permission.  Getting an F in every single class.  Continuing to defy his mother -- and even the court -- with impunity.

I'm just not sure that anything that can be done matters.  You don't want to give up.  At the same time, what do you do when someone's on a certain path seemingly inexorably?

A depressing way to begin a Monday morning.