NYRA Freedom

Volume 11, Issue 7
August 19, 2011


– NYRA Annual Meeting a Huge Success
– Check the BRAND New YouthRights.org
– NYRA Elects 2011-2012 Board of Directors
– First Annual NYRA Bowling Tournament
– Remove Age Discrimination from the Illinois Admissions Process
– New Northeast Georgia Chapter Off to a Great Start
– Chapters Forming in Hawaii, Ohio, New York and Central Florida
– Calendar
– Blog
– NYRA News
– Other News

NYRA Annual Meeting a Huge Success

The 2011 NYRA Annual Meeting, held July 29th through 31st, on the campus of University of Maryland – College Park was co-hosted by the UMD Chapter of SSDP and sponsored by the American Library Association’s Freedom to Read Foundation. With nearly 70 people in attendance, this year’s conference was twice as big as 2010. Not only did we double the attendance, we doubled the schedule. Packing in a Friday night petitioning event against the proposed Montgomery County curfew, a night of bowling on Saturday, and notable speakers such as Steve Culbertson, CEO of Youth Service America, Mary Beth Tinker, the plaintiff in the famous Tinker v. Des Moines free speech case and Dr. Robert Epstein our keynote speaker and author of Teen 2.0. The schedule was packed with debates, discussions, speakers, workshops, panels, and videos covering all aspects of the youth rights movement, from traditional subjects like the voting age and drinking age, to the question of whether Rebecca Black was good for youth rights.

Attendees came from as far away as Hawaii, Florida and New Mexico. A large contingent of staff and members of the United Teen Equality Center in took a van down from Lowell, Massachusetts. In addition to the 70 people in attendance, many more watched the conference live online. Videos of the annual meeting are still available online, so if you missed anything you can watch it online!

Thanks to the expert work of local photographer Chester Lam, this year’s annual meeting also has the best looking pictures we’ve ever had at an annual meeting. Check out the full photo gallery here.

Food, snacks and coffee were generously provided by the College Park locations of Noodles & Company, Bagel Place of College Park and Starbucks. Staffing the exhibition hall were the Reason Foundation, the American Library Association’s Office of Intellectual Freedom, Students for Sensible Drug Policy, the United States Youth Chamber of Commerce and The Hitting Stops Here! We thank all of them for helping make this year’s annual meeting such a success. And of course, all the amazing people who came! Thank you! See you in 2012!!

Check out the BRAND NEW YouthRights.org

Hopefully by now you’ve had a chance to visit the new YouthRights.org. We are very proud of our brand new website, it has taken a huge amount of work over the last year and a half to bring it to life and is a significant upgrade for our online home. The Internet has always been essential to this organization. We were founded online and built the world’s most extensive collection of youth rights arguments and research, all while building an active and passionate online community. While acclaimed for the quality of its content, the old website was showing its age. To bring NYRA into the present, our Executive Director, Alex Koroknay-Palicz, led the project of designing, building and implementing a new website. He worked with numerous designers and developers over the last year and a half, and put in a lot of work himself to make this happen. Now the useability and visual appeal of YouthRights.org at last match the impressive content the site offers. Some of the website’s many new features include:

* Dedicated Chatrooms for Chapters and General Chatting
* New and Improved Picture Gallery
* Unified Login System (One login for the forum, the blog, and everything else!)
* Featured Slider
* Integrated Forums
* and much more!

This winter NYRA contracted with a firm called WPCoder to implement the new site. After numerous missed deadlines and shoddy work the adult professionals who worked there admitted that they were not able to do what they had said they would. At the Annual Meeting, Koroknay-Palicz invited 14 year old NYRA member Jason Spriggs to help out. In under two weeks Jason was able to help finish the project. Jason is a tenth grader at Winston Churchill High School and is the owner/founder of WireShout Media. Thanks for all your help Jason! We could not (nor could WPCoder) have done it without you.

NYRA Elects 2011-2012 Board of Directors

The 2011 NYRA Board Election concluded on Saturday night and we are proud to announce the 2011-2012 NYRA Board of Directors! This year’s winning candidates include: Jeffrey Nadel, Kathleen O’Neal, Katrina Moncure, Chris Hardy, Eric Goldstein, Keith Mandell, Samantha Godwin, Usiel Phoenix and Nigel Jones. Three bylaw proposals were put before the membership and two of them passed. A change was made in how elections are announced and paid staff are no longer permitted to run for the board of directors. The membership voted down a bylaw that would have created two-year terms for board members instead of the current one-year term.

First Annual NYRA Bowling Tournament

Rarely does the NYRA Freedom writing staff get to write a sports story. So it is with great enthusiasm that we announce Geoff Foster, NYRA member and youth organizer at the United Teen Equality Center of Lowell, Massachusetts as this year’s NYRA Bowling Champion with an impressive score of 160. While not bowling, Geoff and the teens of Lowell work diligently to lower the voting age to 17. Rounding out the top three were newly elected NYRA board member Eric Goldstein and NYRA executive director Alex Koroknay-Palicz. Well bowled, gentlemen.

Remove Age Discrimination from the Illinois Admissions Process

NYRA member and psychology student Kelsey Caetano-Anollés is being denied admission to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) graduate program because of her age. At 17 years of age, she graduated with both an Associate’s and B.S. in Psychology. In 2011, she applied to UIUC’s Graduate Program in Psychology and was denied admission on the basis of her age, while less qualified students were admitted into the program. The graduate college explicitly stated that age was indeed a factor in her denial of admission, explaining that she did not have enough “life experience” to enter a graduate program. She was never interviewed by admission committee members to verify this assumption. Instead, it was suggested that she “go backpacking in Europe” before she considered re-applying to the program in two years.

Kelsey is currently enrolled in a Master’s program at the Chicago School of Professional Psychology. Send a message to UIUC’s admission committee by signing her Change.org petition to eliminate age discrimination from the admissions process for future students!

New Northeast Georgia Chapter Off to a Great Start

NYRA-Northeast Georgia, recently founded by Athens resident Keyantwon Stephens has already had its first victory. Administrators at Cedar Shoals High School and Clarke Central High School attempted to block the formation of NYRA clubs at those schools – a clear violation of Federal law. NYRA-NE Georgia took the matter to the Athens-Clarke County School Board Meeting. All board members voted for two NYRA clubs in both schools. The clubs were blocked by three administrators responding to complaints by the local PTA. All three administrators are now facing punishment for their illegal attempts to block the NYRA clubs from forming. Special thanks to Athens-Clarke County School Board Member Vernon Payne who persuaded most parents and other board member to go forward with the two NYRA clubs.

Like NYRA-Northeast Georgia On Facebook!

Chapters Forming in Hawaii, Ohio, New York and Central Florida

NYRA is pleased to announce three promising new chapters. NYRA-Hawaii, led by Chase Shigemasa is currently championing legislation to give the student board member of the Hawaii State Board full voting rights. The chapter’s ultimate goal is to lower Hawaii’s voting age to 16.

We are also pleased to welcome to NYRA’s chapter family NYRA-Ironton/Tri-State, NYRA-SUNY Potsdam and NYRA-Central Florida. We’re looking forward to great things!


September 5 – Informal Chapter Chat
8 pm – 10 pm Eastern
In the New NYRA chatroom
Join the chat online here: http://www.youthrights.org/community/chat/
Or with an IRC client, go here: irc.geekshed.net:6667 room: #nyra

September 16 – #16toVote on the 16th
All Day on Twitter – Tweet about the voting age and include the hashtag #16toVote

September 20 – Informal Chapter Chat
8 pm – 10 pm Eastern
In the New NYRA chatroom
Join the chat online here: http://www.youthrights.org/community/chat/
Or with an IRC client, go here: irc.geekshed.net:6667 room: #nyra


#16tovote on the 16th – August Edition

A letter to the owner of Proof Restaurant

Montgomery County Curfew Hearing

NYRA Executive Director’s Testimony Against the Montgomery County Curfew


NYRA Related

[VIDEO] Q&A With NYRA President Jeffrey Nadel on Reason.TV

Boca Raton High School Under Fire for ‘Unconstitutional’ Cellphone Searches

Boca High Students Speak Out About Cell Phone Searches

Proposed Youth Curfew Needs to be Changed, MontCo Speakers Say

Boca High Put on Notice: Stop Infringing on the Rights of Students

Student Rights Group Targets Boca High Cellphone Searches

Maryland Youth Curfew Bill Brings Protests

Boca High Cell Phone Searches on CBS-12

Boca High’s Unconstitutional Cell Phone Searches

In America, It’s Illegal to Go Out Into the Streets

Other News

Can a Playground Be Too Safe?

The No Kids Allowed Movement is Spreading

Israeli Students Angry About Economy

Philadelphia to Crack Down on Curfew

Next UVM President Should Bring Back Drinking Age of 18

8 Reasons Young Americans Don’t Fight Back: How the US Crushed Youth Resistance

Books Should Not Have Been Banned

‘Minors Do Have a Voice’ In Anti-Curfew Push

Ridge Creek School Closes

Ridge Creek School Closes

Philly Announces Youth Curfew to Combat Violent Flash Mobs

Bill Lowering Voting Age for City Elections Takes Steps Forward

School Discipline Often Meted Out Unevenly

All school, no play? Kids’ learning suffers without recess, experts say


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