NYRA Freedom

ISSN 1933-5229
Volume 8, Issue 6
July 10, 2008
Editors: Lexi Johnson and Justin Graham

Table of Contents

– Introduction
– U.S. House Passes Bill to Restrict Teen Torture 318-103
– NYRA-DC Takes Action Against Abusive Programs
– Voting is Under Way in the 2008 NYRA Election
– New Chapter in Boca Raton Sprints Out of the Gate
– The Annual Meeting is Only Three Weeks Away
– Companion Organizations to NYRA Formed Overseas
– Recent NYRA Blog Entries
– News from the Web
– Conclusion


This month success has been coming in leaps and bounds for NYRA. The passing of HR 6358, the Stop Child Abuse in Residential Programs for Teens Act of 2008, through the U.S. House of Representatives; the founding of NYRA-UK; and the election of our Board of Directors makes this an exciting time for NYRA. As NYRA’s success grows it relies on its members and supporters even more. So don’t stop making contributions to youth rights. Whether it’s writing your senators urging them to introduce and support HR 6358 in the Senate, raising youth rights awareness locally, or donating to the cause, every little bit helps.

U.S. House Passes Bill to Restrict Teen Torture 318-103

By an overwhelming majority vote of 318-103, on June 25 the U.S. House of Representatives passed HR 6358 (previously HR 5876), the Stop Child Abuse in Residential Programs for Teens Act of 2008.
This watershed legislation will enact necessary reforms intended to stop the abuse and torture of young people in behavior modification facilities, or gulag schools, throughout the country. It will prohibit the all-too-common physical, sexual, or psychological abuse of teens by facility staff. It will require that young people held in these facilities have access to food, water, shelter, clothing, medical care, and a telephone. It will restrict the use of physical restraints, require inspections of residential treatment centers, and more.
And it passed by greater than a three fourths majority, more than veto-proof. This vital, common-sense bill garnered strong bipartisan support, earning the votes of 229 Democrats and 89 Republicans. Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle listened to the voices of victims of behavior modification facilities and boot camps, and of their constituents, including hundreds of NYRA members from across the country who wrote and called their representatives and made their views known.
But the fight for justice is not over yet. This long-overdue legislation still does not yet have a sponsor in the Senate. The bill must still pass the Senate before it can be sent to President Bush for his signature. You can help by writing or calling your senators and urging them to introduce the Stop Child Abuse in Residential Programs for Teens Act of 2008 in the Senate.
We can get this essential bill passed into law.
To find your senators, go to http://www.senate.gov

NYRA-DC Takes Action Against Abusive Programs

On June 24, as the U.S. House of Representatives was debating the Stop Child Abuse in Residential Programs for Teens Act of 2008, which later passed overwhelmingly, members of NYRA’s District of Columbia chapter attended a hearing before the DC City Council about the rampant abuses in behavior modification facilities.
The City Council is considering Bill 17-0654, the Protection of Students withDisabilities Amendment Act of 2008, which would prohibit the District from sending young people to residential programs that use “aversive methods” such as electric shock, food and water deprivation, forced exercise, and more.
Several NYRA members testified before the Council, and the only person offering testimony that day who knows what it is like to go through a behavior modification program from personal experience was a NYRA member. At NYRA, we believe strongly that the views of young people who have been subjected to these programs need to be represented. We encourage all members who are DC residents to contact the City Council and tell them to support the Protection of Students with Disabilities Amendment Act of 2008. Tell them why. It’s time for government to listen.

Voting is Under Way in the 2008 NYRA Election

It’s finally time to cast your ballot for NYRA Board of Directors. The 2008 NYRA election began on July 3, and voting will continue until the annual meeting on August 2. There are 12 strong candidates running for nine positions on the Board of Directors this year, and your vote is more important than ever in determining the direction of the organization for the coming year. In addition to the Board election, there are also two changes to the NYRA bylaws on the ballot, along with a change to our mission statement and, for the first time in six years, an opportunity to pick NYRA’s new slogan.
The only requirement for voting is a paid membership to NYRA (just $10 a year). If you’re currently disenfranchised by the voting age of 18, you can still vote in this election. There is plenty of information available online about the candidates for the Board, as well as the bylaw and mission statement changes and the new slogan possibilities. Don’t miss your opportunity to cast your ballot and influence the direction of NYRA!
To read all about the candidates, the proposed changes to the bylaws and mission statement, and the options for the new slogan, visit:

Election One Week Away, Annual Meeting Next Month

To ask the candidates questions about the issues or about the direction in which they would take NYRA as a Board member, go to:
To pay your member dues and gain full voting rights, please visit:

New Chapter in Boca Raton, FL Sprints Out of the Gate

NYRA’s newest chapter, NYRA-Boca Raton, led by high school sophomore Jeff Nadel, is off to a very impressive start, garnering some extraordinary media coverage for youth suffrage. The new chapter tackled the issue of the youth vote head on in the local media, earning a major article in the Boca Raton News and some outstanding television coverage. “I care about this country and this state and I want to be represented,” Jeff said in the Boca Raton News piece.
The hardworking members of NYRA-Boca Raton plan to take their message to state legislators next. It is dedicated chapters like NYRA-Boca Raton that are the driving force behind our movement. With Jeff Nadel at the reins, youth rights in Florida are sure to advance in the coming months.
To read the Boca Raton News story about the new chapter, go to:
To watch the local television coverage of NYRA-Boca Raton, see:

If you’re in the Boca Raton area and would like to get involved, email Jeff at Jeff@16ToVote.org

The Annual Meeting is Only Three Weeks Away

The time for NYRA’s annual meeting is rapidly approaching; it’s only three short weeks away! Every year, NYRA members and officials gather in one place to help determine the direction of the organization over the coming year and to chart a course forward for youth rights. This year, the annual meeting will take place August 2-3 at NYRA’s offices in Washington, DC, our nation’s capital. In the very city where a chamber of 435 legislators overwhelmingly passed a major victory for youth rights just a couple weeks ago, we youth rights activists will meet to plan the next steps. Please join us, and make your voice heard. Email us at nyra@youthrights.org to RSVP.

Companion Organizations to NYRA Formed Overseas

Youth rights now has an international presence thanks to Matthew Hughes, the founder of NYRA-UK. Although NYRA-UK is independent from NYRA here in the United States they still have the same aims for youth equality. Matthew stresses the need for independence because of the difference between the government and culture.
When asked about what got him into youth rights Matthew said, “I learned about youth rights in the same way many of you learned about it. By seeing them eroded.” Matthew was inspired to do something about this injustice and sold all his DVDs and CDs to raise money for NYRA-UK.
A flyering campaign is in the works to raise awareness about youth rights. Matthew hopes this will bring some awareness and support to the cause and will help with NYRA-UK’s goal of forming chapters throughout the United Kingdom. Matthew would like to send thanks to all of NYRA-UK’s American friends who helped him out and hopes that he lives up to their expectations.
Additional youth rights companion organizations are forming in Sierra Leone and Pakistan as well.
More information on NYRA-UK is available at http://www.nyra.org.uk
Contact Joseph Hazeley for information on NYRA’s Sierra Leone branch at jmhazeley@yahoo.com

Recent NYRA Blog Entries

Stop Child Abuse in Residential Programs for Teens Act of 2008
Too Young to Understand Politics? No, Not Young Enough.

News from the Web

— NYRA-Related News —
Lowering the bar?
Boca students want lower voting age

— Other News —
Drinking games prove deadly to college students
U.S. School District to Begin Microchipping Students
Minister calls for children to be locked in school to stop them buying junk food
“Don’t Teach Our Children Crime” – Senate bill to decriminalize youth
If under 21, alcohol, drug offenses to be reported to parents
Raising the drinking age to 21 will not work
Why Teens Should Leave School When They Want
Poll: Schools not properly preparing kids for life
Battle against teen smoking stalls, CDC says
‘Baby DUI’ Law Sets Zero-tolerance Policy for Virginia Minors Who Drink and Drive
Girl On Hand As Bill She Pushed Becomes Law
Should you drink with your kids?
States weigh lowering drinking age
Bay Area assemblyman wants voting age dropped to 17
New Hampshire Supreme Court strikes blow against Youth Suffrage
Seven states consider lower drinking ages
County sued for strip-searching minors
NJ salutatorian has graduation speech cut off
Overscheduled teens down energy drinks, with some risk
Teacher files charges vs. kid over gun sketch
Justice of peace told to stop paddling in court
20-year-old whiz kid runs Senate campaign
Ten-year-old will summer away from home — evangelizing
Minister demands power to cut voting age to 16
Facial Hair Banned In Lovington Schools
7 Arrested for Cheering at High School Graduations
High school paper dropped over flag-burning photo


The past month has seen many advances for youth rights, including perhaps the biggest legislative victory to date in NYRA’s history, the passage in the U.S. House of Representatives, by an overwhelming bipartisan majority, of a bill to stop the abuse in behavior modification facilities. In the months to come, more progress is inevitable.
It is a very active time for NYRA. Not only is there lots of outstanding chapter activity, but voting is underway in the 2008 NYRA election to choose the next Board of Directors, and the upcoming annual meeting is generating a lot of excitement. Make your voice heard by attending the annual meeting. Help determine the direction of NYRA over the coming year by voting in the election. If you’re not yet a paid member of NYRA, go to http://www.youthrights.org/donate.php to become one for only $10 a year. Work with your local NYRA chapter or start your own (go to http://www.youthrights.org/chapters.php for help). It is the hard work of the roughly 8000 NYRA members across the country that makes us strong and will pave the way for youth rights in the future.