NYRA Freedom

ISSN 1933-5229
Volume 9, Issue 5
June 11, 2009
Editors: Justin Graham and Lexi Johnson

Table of Contents

– Introduction
– Southeast Florida NYRA Chapter to Sue Over Curfew
– NYRA’s Annual Election Less Than a Month Away
– 2009 Annual Meeting Coming Up in August
– A Working Transition for Student Rights Union
– Board of Directors Approves Changes to NYRA Bylaws
– NYRA Makes Its Case in Drinking Age Debates
– Recent NYRA Blog Entries
– News from the Web
– Conclusion


It’s that time of year again. NYRA’s annual election, in which members vote for a new slate of directors, will begin July 1, and we’ve got an impressive list of qualified candidates this year. Also on the ballot will be two bylaw changes, and a position paper amendment is pending before the board of directors. The 11th Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C., where NYRA members gather for a weekend of fun and strategizing, is also fast approaching. And, to top it all off, active NYRA members are making their voices heard loud and clear across the country, including a first for NYRA: a lawsuit over an unconstitutonal curfew law.

Southeast Florida NYRA Chapter to Sue Over Curfew

As one of NYRA’s most active current chapters, NYRA of Southeast Florida has made quite a splash in the Sunshine State over the past year. But as a sign of bigger and better things to come, the chapter is preparing to file NYRA’s first lawsuit; the suit is to be filed next week in federal court against the city of West Palm Beach over its unconstitutional youth curfew.
NYRA-SEFL has negotiated with the city for the past several months in an effort to get the unconstitutional curfew ordinance voluntarily rescinded, meeting with the mayor and arguing before the city commission that the ordinance violates the constitution and is impossible to legally enforce. When these methods were unsuccessful in getting the ordinance repealed, the chapter retained noted Boca Raton civil rights attorney Barry Silver to convince the city of the strength of NYRA-SEFL’s legal arguments.
However, the final deadline imposed by the chapter for West Palm Beach to indicate its willingness to rescind its curfew has passed, and NYRA-SEFL and its attorney are preparing to file a lawsuit in federal district court to ensure that the constitutional rights of all youth in West Palm Beach are respected. Chapter president Jeffrey Nadel and vice president Zachary Goodman said in a statement: “We will not sit idly by as this curfew is illegally enforced against the citizens whom the City Commission was elected to serve.”
This groundbreaking development, the first ever lawsuit filed in a NYRA chapter’s name, will propel NYRA’s campaign against discriminatory youth curfews, and our quest to protect all rights of youth, into the spotlight, and the recent overturning of another youth curfew in Rochester, New York by that state’s Supreme Court (see the first article in the “Other News” section below) bodes well for the chapter’s suit.
To read up about NYRA-SEFL’s curfew fight, visit:
Or view their video blog:

NYRA’s Annual Election Less Than a Month Away

The annual election, where the NYRA membership votes for a new slate of board members, is almost upon us. NYRA has an impressive slate of well-qualified candidates for the board this year, including a few incumbents, several active chapter leaders, and other figures from regional and national NYRA leadership. The only requirement to run for the board is to be a paid NYRA member. Being a full member of NYRA is also necessary to vote. Paid membership costs just $10 per year; to pay your dues, go to http://www.youthrights.org/donate.php. This promises to be the most competitive election in NYRA history; don’t miss out! Voting begins July 1; to vote become a voting member right away.
Also on the ballot this year are two amendments to NYRA’s bylaws to require a two-thirds majority vote when the board votes to remove an officer or Director. A vote on an amendment to NYRA’s education position paper opposing corporal punishment in schools, submitted by director Justin Graham, is on the agenda for June’s board meeting, and, if that vote passes, the position paper amendment will also be voted on by members this year. All NYRA members and supporters have an opportunity to speak to the board candidates and ask them questions directly in NYRA’s election forum. Please visit it here:
As of this writing, the following individuals have declared their candidacy for the board (14 candidates for nine seats):
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)
Dustin Manuel (former NYRA board member)
Vicky Minerva (member)
Katrina Moncure (incumbent)
Stefan Muller (incumbent; NYRA vice president)
Stephanie Mungroo (member, NYRA-Nanuet)
Jeffrey Nadel (president, NYRA of Southeast Florida)
Steve Ross (former chairman, Zionsville Student Rights Union)
Chip Sinton (incumbent; NYRA president)
Voting in the election begins July 1, and will conclude at NYRA’s Annual Meeting in Washington D.C. on August 1.

2009 Annual Meeting Coming Up in August

Once a year, in August, the most awesome people ever – NYRA members and supporters – gather for a weekend of fun and youth rights discussion and strategizing. That time is once again approaching.
NYRA’s 11th Annual Meeting will be held Saturday and Sunday, August 1 and 2, at NYRA’s offices in Washington, D.C. This will be the first Annual Meeting held at NYRA’s new office! As usual, there will be several interesting youth rights presenters and other activities, and we’ll hang out at Alex’s house afterwards, having fun and trying to not bug his roommates. In addition, voting for this year’s NYRA election will wrap up during the Annual Meeting, and the results will be announced; attendees will be the first in the nation to hear the election results! Look for more details about the meeting in July’s issue of NYRA Freedom.
Be there, or be a big fat loser.

A Working Transition for Student Rights Union

With the passing of the school year and the graduation of outgoing chairman Steve Ross and its other directors, the Zionsville Student Rights Union in Zionsville, Indiana is passing the reins to the next group of dedicated youth. The new chairman, Abby Llorico, took office along with the rest of her team of directors at the end of May, at a gathering hosted by Ross. “I’m extremely proud of all this Board of Directors has accomplished in the past two years, and I’m incredibly excited to see what the new Board will accomplish as the ZSRU moves into a new era of success,” said Ross.
During the transition to new leadership, the ZSRU has been making progress in its drug education campaign. At a town hall meeting on April 30, ZSRU leadership, including Ross and Llorico, argued before approximately 130 people for a comprehensive drug abuse prevention program, centered on education and treatment. Ross presented data from a University of Michigan study suggesting that random student drug testing, which had been previously proposed, is generally ineffective.
The ZSRU’s message resonated with Zionsville Police Chief Richard Dowden, who suggested the possibility of using federal grant money to expand a program of voluntary drug treatment to any student who needs it. The new board of directors intends to follow up with Dowden about this option.

Board of Directors Approves Changes to NYRA Bylaws

NYRA’s Board of Directors has approved two amendments to the organization’s bylaws proposed by board member Justin Graham. The amendments would change the bylaws to require a two-thirds majority vote, instead of the current simple majority, when the Board of Directors votes to remove an officer from his or her position, or to remove a Director from the board. The changes would have the effect of making it more difficult for the board to remove an officer or Director. The amendments were prompted by a small scandal at the end of 2008 which resulted in a successful vote to remove an officer, and a failed attempt to remove a Director from the board.
The ultimate fate of the amendments, however, is up to NYRA’s membership, which will vote to approve or reject them in the upcoming general election.

NYRA Makes Its Case in Drinking Age Debates

NYRA representatives have made multiple appearances in the past weeks at drinking age debates across the country, making the compelling case for lowering the drinking age to 18. NYRA vice president Stefan Muller was a panelist at a drinking age debate at Harvard University on April 14, arguing that not only does the law need to be changed, but “we really need to change how people are educated about alcohol” if we are to reduce alcohol abuse.
Later, NYRA executive director Alex Koroknay-Palicz debated the drinking age with a representative of Mothers Against Drunk Driving at New Trier High School near Chicago. At the debate, Koroknay-Palicz made the point that European teenagers, for whom drinking is condoned, drink alcohol more often but drink much less at a time, leading to significantly less binge drinking than in the United States, where youth prohibition pushes drinking by youth underground. According to a poll taken by those in attendence, Koroknay-Palicz was deemed the winner of the debate.
Koroknay-Palicz also appeared on a radio show broadcast on June 1 by WestBridge Community Services, an organization involved in the treatment of substance abuse disorders, where he argued that a lower drinking age will reduce alcohol abuse by youth.

Recent NYRA Blog Entries

Drinking Age Silences Victims
Banning Books Hurts Youth
Two Youth Rights Views on Sonia Sotomayor
NYRA-Nanuet Campaigns to Lower the Voting Age on RNN!
Suicide of the Bullied

News from the Web

— NYRA-Related News —
Drinking Age Is Debated At New Trier
Panelists Debate Drinking Age
An Oregon School for Troubled Teens Under Scrutiny

— Other News —
Rochester’s curfew on teens overturned
Springstead High valedictorian’s graduation speech rejected as too real
Students arrested, fined for food fight
Congressman questions NBA’s age rule
Teens win the fight to save their school
Pa. school board upholds eyebrow shaver expulsion
ACLU defends girl’s lewd MySpace principal parody
KRXQ Sacramento Radio Hosts Encourage Violence Against Transgender Children
Cheyenne Mountain plans area’s first random drug test
Objections to some books are on the rise
Entrepreneurs of the future
Group wants R rating for any film with smoking
For Teenagers, Hello Means ‘How About a Hug?’
Lower the Voting Age
New ‘advanced’ curfew to take effect in Chesterton
High-tech sleuth helps reduce truancy
Parents’ Rights, Judges’ Rules
Students, teachers oust Calif. town’s school board
Sex Column causes controversy; First Amendment issues raised
Violent video games are focus of California petition to Supreme Court
Inquiry slams Irish state over “endemic” child abuse
Judge rules Minnesota boy fighting cancer must have chemotherapy
Marijuana Proponents Urge Colleges to Mellow Out
Teen banned from graduation for attending prom
‘Advanced’ 10 p.m. curfew proposed for Chesterton
Providence mayor wants to tax college students
Dallas City Council enacts daytime juvenile curfew in 12-2 vote
New Indiana law gives teachers more protection
Judge bars drug tests for students in band, chess club
America’s Tough Love Habit
Tomball mom arrested for spanking
KU To Notify Parents Of Alcohol, Drug Violations
A Lawyer, Some Teens and a Fight Over ‘Sexting’
Clash brewing over global Rights of Child pact
Indiana legislators agree on final version of teen driving bill
Police Use Facebook to Bust Underage Party
NY court to weigh legality of youth curfew
Bertram says school days are too short — And there’s not enough of them
New Oshawa law could make it illegal for kids to buy spray paint, markers
Schumer backs limits on youth credit cards
FDA expands access to Plan B for 17-year-olds
Strip search review tests limits of school drug policy
Justices hear arguments over school strip search
Supreme Court hints at allowing strip searches at school
Suit claims abuse, filth at juvenile detention center
13-year-old’s school strip-search case heads to Supreme Court
Driver restrictions pass House
Somerset student wins battle to keep long hair


This is always an exciting time of year for NYRA, with an impending election for a new slate of board members, and the upcoming Annual Meeting. But that doesn’t mean dedicated youth rights activism comes to a stop! Far from it: a lawsuit filed by our Southeast Florida chapter in federal court against an unconstitutional youth curfew is imminent, and other NYRA chapters and youth rights activists are speaking up and effecting positive change across the country. You can always help by joining an active chapter or starting your own (http://www.youthrights.org/chapters.php ) or by making a donation or fundraising for NYRA (http://www.youthrights.org/donate.php ) so you can vote in the upcoming election. If you’d like to run for the board of directors, please email us at nyra (at) youthrights (dot) org as soon as possible! Also, if you can, attend the always awesome and fun annual meeting. Active participation by committed youth rights supporters is the key to NYRA’s success.