Juvenile Justice, Judicial Branch Workshop Spotlights School Justice Partnerships, School Safety

Author: Diana Kees, Deputy Communications Director

The Juvenile Justice Section, in partnership with the Administrative Office of the Courts, Governor’s Crime Commission and Juvenile Jurisdiction Advisory Committee, convened a day-long conversation about the intersection of school safety, juvenile justice, law enforcement and the criminal justice system on April 25 in Cary.

Judge Steven TeskeMore than 100 juvenile justice, education and law enforcement officials, along with judges, district attorneys, public defenders and juvenile program providers, attended the School Justice Partnership Collaboration Workshop. AOC Director Marion Warren, Department of Public Safety Secretary Erik A. Hooks and William Lassiter, deputy secretary for Juvenile Justice, provided welcoming remarks. Attendees were then provided an overview of school justice partnerships by the man some call the “grandfather” of school justice partnerships, Chief Presiding Judge Steven Teske of Clayton County, Georgia, along with Chief District Court Judge Jay Corpening II of Wilmington, who led New Hanover County to implement North Carolina’s first school justice partnership in November 2015.

Following the overview presentation, AOC Assistant Legal Counsel LaToya Powell unveiled the Judicial Branch’s “School Justice Partnership Implementation Toolkit.” This resource contains guidance to assist judicial districts in developing individualized school justice partnership agreements: an important component of the “Raise the Age” legislation, titled the Juvenile Justice Reinvestment Act of 2017.

The workshop’s afternoon presentations highlighted community programs for at-risk youth, such as teen diversion programs, alternative to suspension programs and early intervention truancy programs. Mental health intervention strategies, the impact of gangs on schools and communities and intervention strategies and promising programs in North Carolina were also discussed.

The day wrapped up with a lively panel discussion about the role of school resource officers in North Carolina schools. Panelists included representatives from law enforcement, the judicial branch, the Governor’s Crime Commission, the Department of Public Instruction, the N.C. Justice Academy, Criminal Justice Education and Training Standards, the N.C. Association of School Resource Officers and Sheriffs’ Education and Training Standards. The topics discussed ranged from whether SROs should be certified and what training requirements are needed for SROs; how the role of SROs could be strengthened in North Carolina; and the type of training that school personnel need on the role of school resource officers.

  School Justice Partnerships


A school justice partnership is a group of community stakeholders who work together to establish specific guidelines for school discipline in a way that minimizes suspensions, expulsions and school-based referrals to court for minor misconduct. The main goal of the SJP is to keep kids in school and out of court for routine misconduct at school. SJPs are being developed throughout North Carolina as a result of the state’s recently enacted Raise the Age law.



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