NYRA Freedom

ISSN 1933-5229
Volume 10, Issue 6
June 17, 2010
Editors: Emily Sanders, Julian Gutierrez and Lu Wang
Publisher: David Moss


– Introduction
– Sleep to Succeed Campaign a Success!
– NYRA Fights Kyleigh’s Law and STAND UP Act
– Hyundai’s Anti-Youth Ad Campaign
– Annual Meeting & Election News
– Coalition Against School Paddling suffers setback
– Leadership Circle and Share Your Story Pages
– NYRA Blog Updates
– News From the Web
– Conclusion


With the NYRA annual meeting upon us in less than two months, we would like to immediately announce that due to scheduling and venue issues, the location of the meeting has been changed from Boca Raton, Florida, home of our flagship Southeast Florida chapter, to our nation’s capital, Washington D.C., home of our national headquarters. The date remains the weekend of August 7-8. On the same note, the deadline for declaration of intent to run for the Board of Directors election has now passed, and we have a full slate of fourteen candidates running for nine seats, including seven incumbents. In other news, this issue is also dedicated to coverage of campaigns in New Jersey and Indiana as well as a national effort against corporal punishment, and a disturbing new media campaign indicative of a wider bias that we need to combat. Enjoy!

Sleep to Succeed Campaign a Success!

A multi-year effort to change the start time of Zionsville Community High School (ZCHS) in Indiana has finally ended, and ended the right way – in victory. The campaign began in March of 2009 when ZCHS student Erica Park presented research to her AP English class outlining the physical and psychological benefits of allowing students to sleep later and start school later. Like most high schools, their start time was created by adults to make life more convenient for adults and the students affected by it (and hurt by it) had very little say. NYRA’s chapter at the school, the Zionsville Student Rights Union (ZSRU), were determined to fix this problem and determined to have a say. Inspired by the research, ZSRU leaders Steve Ross and Abby Llorico organized a campaign to change their school’s start time.
Chapter leaders met with the school administration, the school board, athletic directors, transportation boards and other stake holders about their plan. All were impressed with the research and arguments put forward by ZSRU, but many obstacles stood in their way. Changing the start time affects bus schedules for elementary schools and middle schools in the district as well as schedules for all sports teams in their division. The chapter built up support for the change from the student body and from the teachers. The process was long and difficult, and after Steve Ross graduated, leadership of the chapter and the campaign fell to Abby Llorico who spearheaded efforts through all of the 2009-2010 school year. Finally, at a school board meeting this spring, the Zionsville school board voted unanimously in favor of pushing back the start time from 7:30 am to 8:15 am.
This is a tremendous victory for ZSRU and for youth rights advocates everywhere. ZSRU is once again leading the way in demonstrating that with the facts on our side and a huge amount of persistence anything can be accomplished. Zionsville Community High School is one of very few schools in the country to move their start time back and it happened entirely due to the efforts of NYRA’s dedicated local chapter. This success story exemplifies all that is good about this movement. Young people were harmed by a system created by adults for adults, and through their own hard work and ingenuity fixed that system to the benefit of all involved. If you are interested in putting together a similar campaign at your school, please check out the ZSRU website: http://www.zsru.org/ and contact them for more information about the campaign.

NYRA Fights Kyleigh’s Law and STAND UP Act

Kyleigh’s Law took effect in New Jersey last month. It requires provisional drivers under 21 to display a red sticker on their license plate. Although it is claimed that the Law is intended to help police enforce restrictions on young drivers that limit the hours they can drive and the number of passengers in their cars, NYRA and a lot of parents and students believe that the decal provision makes younger drivers easy targets.
NYRA has been a vocal opponent of Kyleigh’s Law since it took effect and has received substantial press for encouraging New Jersey drivers to protest Kyleigh’s Law. A small group of parents and teen drivers gathered on May 13th to protest Kyleigh’ Law. Lawmakers who originally supported the bill are rethinking their decisions. The three state lawmakers – State Sen. Steve Oroho and Assembly members Alison Littell McHose and Gary Chiusano – who represent the Hamilton-area 14th District have all proposed legislation to repeal the “red scarlet” decal requirement of Kyleigh’s Law. State Senator Sean T. Kean, R-Monmouth, has co-sponsored a bill to repeal the decal portion of the law.
The new local chapter, NYRA-Central Jersey, which was created last month specifically to fight for the overturn of the decal requirement, is organizing protests against the law. See the news roundup below for all the coverage of NYRA’s involvement with Kyleigh’s Law. Also, stay tuned to http://centraljersey.youthrights.org for more developments.
Following on the heels of this bad law in NJ, the US Congress is debating a new bill – the STAND UP Act (The Safe Teen and Novice Driver Uniform Protection Act) which was recently introduced in the Senate. Under this bill, people who are under 18 are not eligible for an unrestricted, full license. Sadly, the whole process follows the same pattern as the the passage of Kyleigh’s Law. No one, other than us, has actually considered the potential negative consequences of these new restrictions. New Jersey’s legislature has already made a mistake by passing Kyleigh’s Law and now they’re scrambling to fix that mistake before it’s too late. It is disconcerting to see lawmakers continue to make the same mistakes when it comes to issues of youth rights.
Please contact your Senators and Congressmen and let them know you think that those considering passage of the STAND UP Act should sit down and reconsider.

Hyundai’s Anti-Youth Ad Campaign

(The consumer affairs email address for Hyundai, the auto company discussed in this article, is consumeraffairs@hmausa.com; we urge you to contact them in response to this coverage).
Hyundai and major network executives felt no issue in authorizing the creation and broadcast of several commercials that depict scenes such as a messy and unorganized bedroom to the tune of The Sound of Music’s “Sixteen Going on Seventeen,” the point of which is this new wave of particularly troublesome teenage drivers will need especially safe cars to counter-balance their inclinations towards reckless driving. While the existence of one insulting commercial will not change perceptions one way or the other, the mass dissemination of certain images and stereotypes of youth throughout mainstream media outlets on a daily basis does influence and mold public opinion. These negative stereotypes lead to the creation of further restrictions, penalties and limitations on young people. In the case of Kyleigh’s Law in NJ, perhaps even exposing young people to danger.
We therefore have a responsibility to urge the media, especially major broadcasters, to air and publish less offensive ageist caricatures and generalizations. The same goes for the root source of those images. NYRA members have begun a campaign targeting Hyundai for their negative ads about teens. When a company insults any other group in society, they suffer public backlash. It is therefore up to us to make ourselves heard about Hyundai’s irresponsible and offensive ad campaign about teens. Several NYRA members have written letters to Hyundai to complain and several have gotten responses.
The effort is being organized in the NYRA Forums: http://forums.youthrights.org/showthread.php?20522-Hyundai-FAIL
Once again, Hyundai’s consumer affairs email address is consumeraffairs@hmausa.com; feel free to contact the auto company and express your sentiments about their demeaning advertisements. Please let us know in the forums if you’ve contacted them and if they’ve responded. We can’t let them insult youth without consequences!

Annual Meeting & Election News

As mentioned in the introduction, the 2010 Annual Meeting has been moved to Washington, DC. With less than two months to go till the annual meeting the NYRA Board of Directors decided that Washington, DC was the more affordable and convenient option for the meeting this year. We apologize for any disruption this may have caused to anyone’s travel plans, but are confident this will be the best annual meeting yet. Further details will be released next week with information on the meeting and a form to RSVP. Please start making travel plans now!
We are also pleased to announce the 14 candidates running for NYRA’s 2010 Board of Directors.
1. Jeffrey Nadel (incumbent)
2. Jackie Ferro (incumbent)
3. Alex Koroknay-Palicz (incumbent)
4. Keith Mandell (incumbent)
5. Hal Levy (incumbent)
6. Katrina Moncure (incumbent)
7. Stefan Muller (incumbent)
8. Jenny Harkin
9. Max Harmony
10. Nigel Jones
11. Chris Hardy
12. Usiel Phoenix
13. Julian Gutierrez
14. Lindsay Coley
The election begins on July 7 and ends on August 7. Voting will take place online and at the annual meeting in Washington, DC. In order to vote in this election you must be a dues paying member of the National Youth Rights Association; dues are $10 a year and can be paid at http://www.youthrights.org/donate.php. In addition, we encourage active dialogue with candidates in order to quiz them on their views of the issues and management styles and ideas in the event of their elections. Please visit our “Questions for Candidates” thread on the NYRA Forum to ask anything on your mind to the Board candidates: http://www.youthrights.org/electionforum

Coalition Against School Paddling suffers setback

The Coalition Against Student Paddling filed a complaint with the United States Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR) on February 6th of this year. The complaint highlighted the sexism involved in using paddling as discipline within many states. This form of discipline seems to go against Title IX of the Education Amendment s Act of 1972, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex under any education program receiving Federal financial assistance. Because of natural physical differences between the sexes, paddling is likely to inflict more damage, discomfort and pain on girls than on boys.
A response was received from the OCR on May 11th. This response claimed that, currently, the complaint does not include enough detail for an investigation to go forward. The OCR states that it needs information about distinct instances of paddling in the states specified within the 180 days prior to the filed complaint. This is bizarre because according to the Department of Education, which overseas the OCR, there were over 200,000 instances of paddling in schools during the 2006-2007 school year alone – yet they still wanted us to provide proof that it had happened. Apparently, the DoE’s own records and the fact that schools have written policies allowing the practice was not enough proof for them. The unfairly short time period given for that information to be provided is indicative of an OCR that is not interested in ending legalized child abuse in this country. NYRA is proud to have participated in this innovative effort to end the systematic abuse of America’s school chi ldren but disappointed in the OCR’s lackluster response.
The Coalition is not deterred however, and is currently strategizing our next step. In the meantime, we are looking forward to Rep. McCarthy’s bill banning the practice of corporal punishment in schools. This bill should be announced soon.
If you want to help, please contact Rep. McCarthy’s office and encourage her to introduce the bill.
Representative Carolyn McCarthy 300 Garden City Plaza, Suite 200 Garden City, N.Y. 11530 Phone: (516) 739-3008

Leadership Circle and Share Your Story Pages

Back in January, we asked our members to share their youth rights stories. And we continue to get a number of responses. Some are funny, some are sad, and some are horrifying. All are about youth and their struggle for rights. We are pleased to share these stories with you (and the world). They can be found here:
Also in January, we launched the Leadership Circle – a group of committed youth rights supporters who pledge $50 a month to NYRA and enjoy exclusive membership benefits. We are pleased to provide recognition to these dedicated supporters at the Leadership Circle page, found here:


July 5 – Informal Chat 8 pm – 12 am Eastern In the NYRA chatroom on AIM IM Alex From NYRA if you need an invite
July 7 – NYRA Board Election Begins Stay tuned for details on how to vote Only dues paying members can vote, please renew here: http://www.youthrights.org/donate.php
July 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
July 18 – Board Meeting 8 pm Eastern In the NYRA chatroom on AIM IM Alex From NYRA if you need an invite
July 20 – Informal Chat 8 pm – 12 am Eastern In the NYRA chatroom on AIM IM Alex From NYRA if you need an invite
August 7-8 – 2010 NYRA Annual Meeting Washington D.C. Stay tuned for more details on the agenda and venue


This Hyundai Situation
An Inconvenient Truth About Childhood Obesity


NYRA Related
The STAND UP ACT is a Big Mistake
New Teen Driving Act Proposed to Help Save Lives
Congress considers raising unrestricted driving age to 18
Kyleigh’s Law update
Kyleigh’s Law: A danger to teens
New NJ Teen Auto Decal Law…will it prevent car accidents?
Fearing child predators, local lawmakers want “Kyleigh’s Law” scrubbed ASAP
Parents: Kyleigh’s Law Red Decals Raise Red Flag
Partial repeal of Kyleigh’s Law introduced in Senate
State Official Speaks on Kyleigh’s Law Issues
Kyleigh becomes political football in 14th
N.J. parents, teens protest against Kyleigh’s Law at Morris County lawmakers’ offices
Teens, parents gather in Mount Olive to protest ‘Kyleigh’s Law’ decals
We are seeing problems already with Kyleigh’s Law
Not paying attention is always a problem
Official says patches promote teen safety
Congress Targets Teen Driving, Mulls Federal Driver’s License Standards
National standards sought for teen drivers

Other News
Risky alcohol-related driving behavior increases at age 21
Legislature Holds Public Hearing on Bill To Raise Drinking Age to 21
Raising the Drinking Age on Guam
Editorial: Time to take another look at the drinking age
1 in 5 College Students Admitted to Drunk Driving, Study Found
Should Underage Drinking be Allowed for Active Duty Military?
Judge moves against Facebook youth group
Shopkeeper Stops 17-year-old from Purchasing Puncture Repair Kit
Australia hails Jessica Watson, 16, for sailing record
A New Standard of Decency
On drinking, parents need to just say no
Mohegan Officials: We Won’t Push For Lower Gambling Age
Mother has 5-year-old son arrested
Free Speech Groups Protest GLBT Book-Banning at NJ School District
UC Berkeley Plan to Test Freshman DNA Criticized
13-year-old becomes youngest to top Mount Everest
Waitress jailed for providing beer
School violated student’s privacy in ‘sexting’ case, lawsuit says
American boy, 13, breaks Everest record
Adopted children face anguish as birth parents stalk them on Facebook
Controversial T-Shirt Sale Banned On School Campus
Teenage Shreveport mayoral hopeful
Student’s Art Censored At School
Judge convicts Ark. mom in Facebook flap with son
‘Helicopter’ Parents Have Neurotic Kids, Study Suggests
Young teens get their vote at the NHS elections
Parental Notification Initiative to Appear on the Alaska Ballot
Mother Finds Kidnapped Kids Through Facebook
Fewer young criminals push states to close prisons
Sexting Leads to Child Porn Charges for Teens
Scare tactics, blocking sites can be bad for kids
Voting age may be lowered to 16 in Finnish municipal elections
Game in Secondary School Gets Five Pregnant
Fla. passes law preventing restriction of students’ First Amendment rights
Congresswoman McCarthy Introduces Three Bills Aimed at Increasing Access to Child Nutritio
Voting age may be lowered to 16 in Finnish municipal elections
Long Road to Adulthood Is Growing Even Longer
Minimum age for voting should be dropped to 16
Two More Prominent Politicians Join the Fight To Raise Legal Drinking Age on Guam from 18