NYRA Freedom

ISSN 1933-5229
Volume 10, Issue 2
February 18, 2010
Editors: Emily Sanders and Julian Gutierrez

Table of Contents

-Alex Koroknay-Palicz’s Op-Ed Appears in the HuffingtonPost
-NYRA Joins Coalition Against School Paddling
-#16tovote on the 16th a success!
-Your Youth Rights Stories
-NYRA Works to Save Facebook Page
-Youth Rights Classics Available for Lending
-NYRA Blog Updates
-News From the Web


It’s an exciting time for NYRA. We’re still riding high from winning $25,000 in the Chase Contest and we’re very optimistic about the possibility of even larger gifts. We’re not content to sit on this money, we want to use it to improve the lives of America’s youth. In the past month, we’ve been approached by two organizations who have asked us to help them with their lawsuits. We’re pleased to announce that we’re joining the Coalition Against School Paddling and have filed suit against the U.S. Department of Education. We hope to announce next month that we’ve joined on to another lawsuit. Also this month, our executive director Alex Koroknay-Palicz had his views on segregation at a civil rights museum published at the HuffingtonPost and staffers at the National Office were pleased to read the youth rights stories that our members have been sharing with us.


February 21 – Board Meeting
8 pm Eastern
In the NYRA chatroom on AIM
IM Alex From NYRA if you need an invite

March 1 – Informal Chat
8 pm – 12 am Eastern
In the NYRA chatroom on AIM
IM SciVille if you need an invite

March 16 – #16tovote on the 16th
All Day
Post voting age related tweets on Twitter and include the hashtag #16tovote
Info here: http://forums.youthrights.org/showthread.php?20369

March 16 – Informal Chat
8 pm – 12 am Eastern
In the NYRA chatroom on AIM
IM SciVille if you need an invite

April 14 – National Youth Rights Day
All Day
Hold an event at your school or wear a black arm band in recognition of the rights of youth.
More information here: http://www.nationalyouthrightsday.org

August 7 & 8 – NYRA Annual Meeting
In Boca Raton, FL stay tuned for more information on the schedule & registration, but start making plans now!

Alex Koroknay-Palicz’s Op-Ed Appears in the HuffingtonPost

When the new International Civil Rights Center and Museum recently opened their doors they didn’t open them to everybody. NYRA’s executive director quickly realized what museum curators and planners could not — it’s wrong for a museum whose mission is to highlight the horrors of segregation to promote segregation.
Read his Op-Ed here.

NYRA Joins Coalition Against School Paddling

On February 6, 2010, the Coalition Against School Paddling filed discrimination complaints with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights against the state departments of education in the twenty states where corporal punishment is permitted.
The twenty states that permit corporal punishment in schools are: Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Wyoming.
The complaint was filed under the Patsy T. Mink Equal Opportunity in Education Act (also known as Title IX), based on the disproportionate damaging impact corporal punishment has on girls versus boys. The law prohibits sex discrimination in any education program receiving federal funding.
Alex Koroknay-Palicz, Executive Director of the National Youth Rights Association, asserts, “There is no more basic right than to be free from violence; physical punishment of adults is not permissible, young people should expect no less.”
The coalition anticipates this complaint will arouse a thorough examination by school officials and by the public on the practice of physical punishment in U.S. schools, as well as ultimately providing a legal basis for its prohibition.
Coalition partners include:
• Detention Slip Media – New York, NY
• The Education Exchange – Boulder, CO
• The Hitting Stops Here! – San Jose, CA
• National Youth Rights Association – Washington, DC
• NeverHitaChild.org – Little Rock, AR
• Parents and Teachers Against Violence in Education – Alamo, CA
• People Opposed to Paddling Students, Inc.- Houston, TX
• Tennesseans for Nonviolent School Discipline – Nashville, TN
• www.nopaddle.com, Jeffrey L. Charles – Roseville, MI

#16tovote on the 16th a success!

Last month NYRA board member, Katrina Moncure announced plans to organize an awareness campaign for lowering the voting age. Named #16tovote on the 16th, the campaign had its first even on the 16th of February. Youth rights supporters are encouraged to “tweet” about lowering the voting age on Twitter and include the hashtag #16tovote. For those familiar with Twitter, hashtags allow users to create trends on Twitter and link up their tweets with others on a common theme or subject. Users posted voting age related stats, links to NYRA publications about lowering the voting age, news stories on the subject, and their own thoughts and feelings about voting. In total there were approximately 70 tweets sent out on the 16th as part of the campaign.
Campaign organizer Katrina Moncure described the first #16tovote on the 16th event as a great success that surpassed all her expectations. The campaign will continue again on March 16, all NYRA members and supporters are urged to participate! This time members are encouraged to write blogs, make videos, and generate more voting age content to promote through Twitter. Stop by the forum to help organize the March 16 event.

Your Youth Rights Stories

Recently, we sent out an email looking for your youth rights stories. The President of our board of directors, Jeff Nadel, shared the story of his fight against West Palm Beach and their youth curfew law. Your stories have begun to come in and we have enjoyed reading them. We look forward to receiving more of your stories as the year goes on.
“At my school, we have very harsh rules regarding identification cards.
We are told to wear them constantly, because drug dealers were at our school one day dealing drugs to students. Essentially, they were telling us that these IDs keep drugs out of our school, and lower the rate of rules broken at our school. It is mildly upsetting to see certain students filling up the detention room because they forget their ID card, rather than other students who got into trouble for more serious infractions. It has only created more problems for the school.
What has happened since then is increased penalties on students who forget their IDs. When it was first enacted in 2004 at my school, we’d get a detention if we forgot our ID multiple times. Now, if we forget it more than 4 times per semester, we face suspension or expulsion…simply because we are either forgetful or wish not to wear a degrading lanyard and badge, which makes us feel like cattle.
I, myself, found a way to beat the system and put a picture of my school ID on a t-shirt. It is the only way I know how to beat the system. ”
~ Scott Yeager

“I can buy cigarettes but I can’t buy a beer? Srsly?”
~ Nathalie M.

“When I was 12, I went to the library, where someone was holding a discussion for one of my favorite books (and inspiration for the novel I’m writing right now), Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. I was pretty much the only teen there. The others? Senior citizens. And instead of discrimination, people were impressed by my input and me. I forgot what we discussed – something about how modern society represents the society in the book. But yes, I impressed and even made friends with the leader of the discussion. My mom was even getting comments like, “Your daughter will go far in life.” “And I believe I will.”
~ Alyssa P.

To share your youth rights story (it can be anything, from a video, to a letter, to a poem) send an email to shareyourstory@youthrights.org
NYRA Works to Save Facebook Page

This fall a new Facebook page was created and quickly caught on. Named “Just because I am a teenager does not mean I want to rob your crappy shop!” the page quickly spread across Facebook and now has over 147,000 fans. The page focused on the discrimination that young people face when trying to enter businesses, and the suspicion with which they are greeted while browsing through shops. Unfortunately, this solid youth rights page was threatened with deletion by Facebook unless it could be authenticated. NYRA stepped in to try to authenticate and save the page. Assuming we are successful, NYRA will operate the page jointly with its founder. Thanks to this partnership NYRA will now be able to post status updates to the walls of over 147,000 young people concerned with their rights worldwide. This is a great step forward for NYRA’s outreach ef forts.
Please join the page here.
Please also join NYRA’s official Facebook page here.

Youth Rights Classics Available For Lending

NYRA Freedom editor and ASFAR president Julian Gutierrez has 10 to 12 copies each of the youth rights classics Escape From Childhood and Birthrights available to lend to NYRA and ASFAR members. Both published in 1974, the books were the first to lay expansive foundations for youth rights theory, and garnered attention as a result of being written by youth-oriented professionals, John Holt, an educator, and Richard Farson, a psychologist. As the late Holt would today be 86 and Farson is 83, a father and grandfather, and still advocating youth rights, their publication demonstrates that youth rights is based on a vibrant philosophy that anyone can advocate, not simply rebellious teenagers. To be eligible to borrow the books, you simply must be a paid member of NYRA or an active member of ASFAR (which can be demonstrated by making ten substantive posts on the ASFAR forum), and must be willing to re-send the books to the next person interested in borrowing them. Contact him at jg utierrez@asfar.org to work out shipping details. Happy reading!

NYRA Blog Updates

16tovote on the 16th – February 2010
Vulnerable Behind Bars
The (Non-)Issue of Kids and Electronics
News From the Web

-NYRA Related
How the New International Civil Rights Center and Museum Promotes Segregation
Wake Up, Feds, We’re Adults

-Other News
A Reality Check for the Office of Health and Wellness
School used student laptop webcams to spy on them at school and home
High Schools to Offer Plan to Graduate 2 Years Early
Virginia Public School Officials Ban a Version of Anne Frank’s Diary
Facebook Gripes Protected By Free Speech, Ruling Says
Iowa Pride Network: House Republicans seek to bully gay students
Queens student handcuffed after being caught doodling
Moxee Man Pushes Initiative To Lower Drinking Age
Court expands searches by schools
Girl, 6, Handcuffed, Committed Because of Classroom Behavior
Texas D.A. Prosecutes Girl, 13, For Prostitution While Her Pimp, 32, Walks
School District Bans Dictionaries
Internet Luring Now Includes Non-Sexual Chat
NYCLU, ACLU File Class Action Lawsuit Against NYPD Over Excessive Force, Wrongful Arrests


We are very excited about the upcoming months. We hope to see real change in their way our children are treated in their schools and their communities. We will continue our vigilance against arbitrary discrimination against young people. Our voice will continue to be heard and we will continue to have success. We are very thankful to all our members for your support and dedication.
To make a financial contribution to NYRA, please visit our secure donation page here: http://www.youthrights.org/donate.php