Youth Rights Now | Arts & Culture
YOUTH RIGHTS – RIGHT NOW
A Dialogue On The Fair Representation And Equitable Treatment of 16 – 24 year olds.
This historic dialogue was attended by several hundred youth of various nationalities
and cultures representing diversity in Jacksonville, Florida.
The teens and young adults that reside in Jacksonville, make an economic impact,
attend educational institutions and do have rights, but do not know their rights as citizens.
The youth in attendance were able to ask questions generating an enriching discussion opening
up further dialogue about the responsibilities and accountably of parents, law enforcement,
politicians and educators.
Many attending RTRC III were unaware of the existence of Youth Rights Laws nationally
and internationally, “Convention on the Rights of the Child” (http://www.unicef.org/crc/),
and types of rights; Cultural, Political, Economic, Educational, and Religious.
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 property 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. A legal and juvenile justice perspective, panelist Mr. Kevin Cobbin,
Esq., Attorney explained depending on the situation youth can exercise their rights when
approached / questioned by law enforcement. The key is be respectful and not
confrontational. Youth can request the presence of parents and an attorney at any time.
William Jackson, M.Ed., Educator with DCPS and Edward Waters College encouraged
youth and parents to read the Student Code of Conduct of their school, that is provided
to be informed about their rights in school. Parents do not read the Student Code
of Conduct, are not informed about their rights in school, the policies and
procedures for discipline and consequences of behavior actions. Mr. Jackson talked about
modeling behavior for children and if parents are disrespectful to authority, teachers
and administrators their children will follow.
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 students to take an active role in politics, community development, involved in
creating the policies for youth in politics and education; have a collective voice in their
churches and participate not just complain or wait for others to take action.
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 and need also to be involved.
Mr. Anthony Butler, Sr., Executive Director of E3 complimented those attending, stating this
is how civic movements develop and grow to create opportunities of positive change.
Civil Rights organizations started with a small step then grew into civil organizations that
became powerful and effective for change within society.
Real Talk Real Change III brought to light parents 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 and focused on education. 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.
Information about Youth Rights:
DCPS Code of Conduct downloaded at:
E3 Business Group North Florida Chapter