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Juvenile crime is prevalent in Portsmouth

When a student is charged with a crime, school officials must determine whether the child will be allowed to return to school. School officials look at the student's privacy rights and weigh them against safety concerns. However, many students return to school with school officials who are unaware of the charges.

All across the South Hampton Roads area, many young students are being charged with various misdemeanors and felonies. During the last fiscal year, over 1,500 charges were filed against students in the area. Reports indicate that there were 200 juvenile charges reported to superintendents in Portsmouth in fiscal year 2014. The South Hampton Roads region, which includes Chesapeake, Norfolk, Portsmouth, Suffolk and Virginia Beach, accounted for 24.2% of the 6,230 juvenile charges in fiscal year 2014.

A coordinator of youth risk prevention in Portsmouth finds that they have to find the balance between educating children but also making sure they are in a safe environment. Keeping things confidential is essential in the juvenile justice system. It gives students an opportunity to focus on rehabilitation and improving themselves instead of suffering a lifetime of consequences. Law enforcement and school officials need to communicate to ensure everyone's safety.

However, some juvenile crime can result in serious consequences that will affect these young people for the rest of their lives. When determining whether to release a child charged with a crime, judges will consider the severity of the crime and whether the child poses a threat to others. It is important for young people who are accused of such crimes, along with their families, to remember that being accused of a crime does not imply guilt. The justice system in the United States is based on the fact that those charged with crimes are innocent until proven guilty.

Source: Pilot Online, "Students accused of crimes: When should you know?," Cherise M. Newsome, September 6, 2014

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