Volume 9, Issue 6
July 9, 2009
Editors: Justin Graham and Lexi Johnson
Table of Contents
– NYRA Chapter Files Suit Against Youth Curfew
– Make Your Donation Count Double for Youth Rights Till July 15
– NYRA’s Annual Election Is Underway
– 2009 NYRA Annual Meeting Almost Upon Us
– US Supreme Court Declares Strip Search of Student Illegal
– NYRA Hires Development Director
– New Board Members Appointed; Corporal Punishment Position Approved
– Recent NYRA Blog Entries
– News from the Web
The victories and opportunities for NYRA have come one after the other in the past month. Our chapter in Southeast Florida is waging perhaps one of the most significant campaigns in NYRA’s history: a historic federal lawsuit against an unconstitutional youth curfew. In addition, the US Supreme Court ruled last month in favor of student rights, finding that an invasive strip search of a middle school student was unconstitutional. NYRA has an extraordinary opportunity for growth with the hiring of a new development director. Also, the general election, where the membership votes on a new slate of board candidates, is underway, and NYRA’s 11th annual meeting is fast approaching.
NYRA Chapter Files Suit Against Youth Curfew
NYRA of Southeast Florida, one of NYRA’s most active chapters, has filed a lawsuit in federal district court against the city of West Palm Beach for its unconstitutional youth curfew ordinance. The lawsuit represents a milestone for NYRA, being the first lawsuit filed by a NYRA chapter, and the first anti-curfew lawsuit ever filed by a youth-led youth civil rights organization.
The disputed curfew ordinance prohibits anyone younger than 18 from being in a public place or any place of business within a certain area and during certain hours. The ordinance does contain an exemption for any activity protected by the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, and for traveling to or from any such activity. However, the lawsuit argues that “lmost all conceivable actions of a minor including associating with his friends and family, speaking, traveling freely etc. are covered by the First Amendment.” Therefore, the curfew ordinance is unconstitutionally vague and impossible to legally enforce.
NYRA-SEFL had negotiated for several months with West Palm Beach in an effort to convince the city to voluntarily rescend its curfew, meeting with the mayor and arguing before the city commission that the curfew is unjust, unconstitutional and ineffective. However, when the city declined to repeal the ordinance in spite of the evidence of its illegality, the chapter retained accomplished Boca Raton civil rights attorney Barry Silver to fight for the constitutional rights of youth in federal court, and, on June 23, filed the historic lawsuit.
Last month, a youth curfew ordinance in Rochester, New York was struck down by that state’s Supreme Court. NYRA-SEFL and its attorney intend for this groundbreaking lawsuit to have a similar positive result for the youth of Florida and the nation. “There is no doubt that we will see this through to the end. We will continue to work against this oppressive and illegally-enforced ordinance until justice prevails and it is repealed,” NYRA-SEFL president Jeffrey Nadel said in a statement.
Visit NYRA-SEFL’s anti-curfew website here:
Read news coverage of the lawsuit here:
Download the lawsuit here:
Make Your Donation Count Double for Youth Rights Till July 15
To coincide with the hiring of a new development director, and with NYRA’s historic lawsuit against a youth curfew, NYRA has launched a unique fundraising campaign to benefit the organization and youth rights as a whole.
With the exciting developments of the past month, NYRA has entered a new era of youth rights advocacy, and your investment now will more than pay off in the months and years ahead as our new development director uses that investment to grow this organization into a powerful force for youth throughout the country. What’s more, an anonymous donor has pledged to match your donations, dollar for dollar, through July 15. The more dedicated youth rights supporters like you give, the larger the additional investment from our anonymous donor. This is a fantastic opportunity to not only invest in the future of NYRA but to make your donation count double.
In addition, as part of this unique opportunity, NYRA is now, for a limited time, offering lifetime membership for only $75, instead of the usual $150. For just $75 you can become a lifetime member of the most prominent youth rights organization in the country! A one year membership is still only $10, and, until July 15, your donation counts double. Now is also the perfect time to pay your membership dues; only paid members of NYRA are eligible to vote in the annual election. The election ends August 1, and our anonymous donor is only matching donations dollar for dollar until July 15, so don’t delay!
Please donate today, and have an impact for youth rights for years to come.
To make your donation, please go to:
NYRA’s Annual Election Is Underway
Voting in the 2009 NYRA annual election, where the membership votes for a new slate of board members, is underway! This year’s election is the most competitive yet, with 14 qualified candidates running for nine available seats on the board of directors. NYRA’s slate of candidates this year is impressive, with several active chapter leaders running, as well as several incumbents. Former board member Dustin Manuel, who had previously announced his candidacy, has removed his name from contention; taking his place in the election is Pablo Vazquez, co-founder of NYRA’s chapter at the University of Texas at San Antonio.
Also on the ballot are two amendments to NYRA’s bylaws changing how the board removes officers or directors, and an amendment to the education position paper opposing corporal punishment in schools.
All paid NYRA members are eligible to vote in the election. Voting can be done securely on the NYRA website, via email or postal mail, or in person at NYRA’s annual meeting in August. If you paid your dues before the beginning of the month, you’ve already received your ballot. If not, it’s not too late! Voting is open until August 1; pay your dues at http://www.youthrights.org/donate.php to become a full member of NYRA today! Just $10 earns you a paid NYRA membership and eligibility to vote in the election, and now, for a limited time, you can become a lifetime NYRA member for only $75.
This year’s slate of candidates for the board of directors is:
Jackie Ferro (president, NYRA-Nanuet)
Justin Graham (incumbent; editor, NYRA Freedom)
Max Harmony (board of directors, Americans for a Society Free from Age Restrictions)
Alex Koroknay-Palicz (incumbent; NYRA executive director)
Brian Lombrowski (president, Community Alliance for the Ethical Treatment of Youth)
Keith Mandell (incumbent)
Katrina Moncure (incumbent)
Stefan Muller (incumbent; NYRA vice president)
Stephanie Mungroo (member, NYRA-Nanuet)
Jeffrey Nadel (incumbent; president, NYRA of Southeast Florida)
Victoria Minerva RodrÃ guez RoldÃ¡n (member)
Steve Ross (incumbent; former chairman, Zionsville Student Rights Union)
Chip Sinton (incumbent; NYRA president)
Pablo Vazquez (co-founder, NYRA-UTSA)
Voting in the election began July 1, and will conclude at NYRA’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C. on August 1. Read all about the candidates, and the proposed bylaw and position paper changes, here:
Speak with the board candidates and ask them questions here:
2009 NYRA Annual Meeting Almost Upon Us
That time of year is almost upon us: the NYRA annual meeting, where NYRA members and youth rights activists from across the country gather to discuss youth rights issues, plan strategy for the coming year, and of course to have fun with some of the most awesome people on earth.
There will be a full slate of workshops this year. The full agenda will be released next week, but some highlights that can be announced so far include: a two-hour debate between Students for Liberty and Students for a Democratic Society, a history of the idea of childhood, and workshops from NYRA-Southeast Florida and the Zionsville Student Rights Union.
NYRA’s 11th annual meeting will be held Saturday and Sunday, August 1 and 2, in Washington, D.C. Because NYRA’s old office building has a larger conference room than the new building, the annual meeting will be held at the old office. There will be workshops and presentations for attendees, and there will be a barbecue Saturday night at executive director Alex Koroknay-Palicz’s house. In addition, attendees will be the first in the nation to hear the results of NYRA’s annual election! Paid members will also be able to vote in person during Saturday’s events.
Read more about the annual meeting and RSVP here:
US Supreme Court Declares Strip Search of Student Illegal
In a remarkable, high profile victory for student rights across the country, the United States Supreme Court ruled on June 25 that the strip search of a 13-year-old female middle school student by school administrators was illegal. At issue before the court was whether a suspicion that a student possesses a prescription drug, backed only by the uncorroborated accusation of one other student, allows school administrators to require the student to submit to an invasive strip search, and, by an 8-1 margin, the court ruled squarely on the side of youth, declaring the strip search to be an unconstitutional infringement upon the student’s Fourth Amendment rights. Justice Clarence Thomas was the lone dissenter.
In 2003, middle school student Savana Redding was brought to her vice principal’s office, suspected of possessing ibuprofen (Advil) pills. After a search of her backpack yielded nothing, the school ordered a strip search, requiring Redding to remove all of her clothing except her bra and underwear, to shake out her bra to prove that no pills were hidden underneath, and to pull out and shake the front of her underwear, exposing her pelvic area. Redding sued, and, after six years, she has now been vindicated by the Supreme Court’s near-unanimous decision.
The case, Safford v. Redding, was one of the first Supreme Court cases that NYRA has been involved in. NYRA collaborated with three other organizations, the Urban Justice Center, Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund and Advocates for Children of New York, to prepare an amicus curiae, or friend of the court, brief to the Supreme Court, arguing that the invasive strip search of Ms. Redding was unreasonable, and therefore unconstitutional.
NYRA is proud to have been a part of this major youth rights victory.
To download the full Supreme Court decision in Safford v. Redding, go here:
To download the amicus curiae brief that NYRA filed, go here:
NYRA Hires Development Director
NYRA has hired Charles Ambrus, an accomplished fundraiser, as our Development and Operations Director. Ambrus has extensive experience in fundraising, marketing, public relations and related fields, with non-profits, government agencies and in the private sector. The new development director is expected to solidify and stabilize NYRA’s place at the forefront of the youth rights movement and to bring in the resources necessary to propel NYRA and the cause of youth rights to greater success.
NYRA created and filled the development director position to spur continued growth of the organization, to facilitate more effective outreach and to generate the resources and support needed to become a more powerful advocate for the rights of youth. “Hiring a professional fundraiser will provide NYRA the long-term growth, stability, and resources to finally win this battle for youth rights,” said NYRA board member Jeffrey Nadel.
New Board Members Appointed; Corporal Punishment Position Approved
Jeffrey Nadel and Steve Ross are NYRA’s newest board members. During the June 14 board meeting, former directors Eric Kim and Jacqueline Trumbull were removed for lack of participation on the board. Nadel, president of NYRA’s Southeast Florida chapter, and Ross, founder and former chairman of the Zionsville Student Rights Union, were then appointed to serve out the remainder of the 2008-2009 term. Nadel and Ross are also both candidates in the current annual election. The current term ends in August.
In other developments, the board of directors has approved an amendment to NYRA’s education position paper opposing corporal punishment in schools. The amendment, proposed by board member Justin Graham, passed by a vote of 6-0, with one abstention. Voting yes were directors Justin Graham, Jason Kende, Keith Mandell, Katrina Moncure, Stefan Muller and Chip Sinton; executive director Alex Koroknay-Palicz abstained. The amendment is currently being voted on by the NYRA membership in the general election.
To read the proposed amendment, go here:
Recent NYRA Blog Entries
My Keynote Address to the Hewlett Model Congress
Savana Redding Wins Strip Search Case!!
Lots of Updates from NYRA-SEFLâ€™s Curfew Lawsuit
NYRA v. West Palm Beach
DSM Targets Young People in Upcoming Edition
Teaching Hate and Only Hate
News from the Web
— NYRA-Related News —
Young legal eagle takes on West Palm Beach
Supreme Court rules strip search of girl illegal
Teens file lawsuit against WPB curfew
Teen Group Sues West Palm Beach Over Curfew Law
Youth group sues West Palm Beach to overturn downtown curfew
Teen killing in Pasco sparks renewed curfew debate
— Other News —
Policeman hits New Mexican girl in head with Taser
Seventh Grader Sues School Over Right to Wear Pro-Life T-Shirt
Arkansas private school sued for expelling pregnant student
Texting while driving ban one of many new laws in Virginia
Cell chats a no-no for some drivers
Call to ban online sales of knives
Ruling Extends Special Education Funding
Court: School Strip Search Violated Teen’s Rights
Top court rules strip search of teen was illegal
Conn. church creates stir with gay exorcism video
Students have interest in high court case
NJ girl, 14, gets probation for posting nude pics
Principal Withholds Diplomas from Graduates After Silent Protest
Litchfield superintendent apologizes for ‘inappropriate’ stories
Reform school guard, 85, denies beating boys
Diploma Denied To Student Who Bowed, Blew Kiss To Family
Parents could ‘spy’ on kids’ mobile phones
Fremont teen already working on city council bid
The events of the past month represent a watershed moment for NYRA. We are engaged in one of our most significant and potentially far-reaching campaigns ever: a federal lawsuit against a youth curfew that could reach to the US Supreme Court. That same high court ruled last month in favor of youth rights that the strip search of a middle school student was illegal, in a case in which NYRA filed a friend of the court brief arguing for the student. The most anticipated NYRA event of the year, the annual meeting, is coming up in just three weeks, and paid NYRA members have the opportunity to shape the direction of the organization in the coming year by voting in the general election.
To top it off, the hiring of a professional fundraiser as Development Director ushers in a new era for NYRA, representing perhaps the most extraordinary opportunity for growth that this organization has seen, and we need your help. That’s why all donations to NYRA until July 15 are being matched, dollar for dollar, by an anonymous donor. Please go to http://youthrights.org/donate and make an investment in youth rights that will help us become a more powerful advocate for youth across the country.