In re George T.

Juvenile Law Center co-authored an amicus brief in the California Supreme Court seeking to overturn the delinquency adjudication of a high school sophomore sentenced to 100 days in a juvenile detention hall for distributing a poem that mentioned bringing guns to school. Juvenile Law Center’s brief reviewed adolescent development research and challenged the one-size-fits all (“zero tolerance”) approach to student misbehavior.

The California Supreme Court unanimously overturned the delinquency conviction, finding the poetry did not constitute an actual threat to students or administrators and that school safety and free speech are “not necessarily antagonistic goals.”