NYRA is pleased to announce the winners of our first annual NYRA Awards. This year we gave three separate awards: The Youth Rights Progress Award, The NYRA Achievement Award, and the Ageist of the Year Award. To learn about all the nominees go here.

The Youth Rights Progress Award was given to Congressman George Miller, for sponsoring and passing H.R. 911 to curb the use of torture in “behavior modification” schools, and H.R. 4247 to prevent harmful restraint and seclusion in schools. These two bills will save thousands of children from abuse each year by protecting their fundamental rights. NYRA has been in touch with the Congressman’s Office who were pleased to learn of the victory. We hope to formally present the award soon. The NYRA Achievement Award was given to NYRA-Southeast Florida, for suing the city of West Palm Beach to overturn an unconstitutional curfew law. NYRA-SEFL, led by chapter president and NYRA’s national president Jeffrey Nadel, effectively organized opposition to the curfew law and filed suit only when all amicable options were exhausted.

Finally, the Ageist of the Year Award was given to Pennsylvania’s Lower Merion School District, for using tracking software and built-in webcams to spy on students using school-issued laptops. Hundreds of students were clandestinely recorded or photographed by the school while at home and in private. The Lower Merion School District lied to students and families about this capability while distributing over 2,000 laptops, initially even after being caught. Only when pictures of students’ homes and stories about amused school administrators began to surface was the school district sued for unprecedented violations of wiretapping and computer fraud laws. Officials from the district declined to speak with us. NYRA was disturbed to learn, after awarding this award that federal prosecutors have refused to bring charges fearing a disruption to the school year. For more on that check out the news section below.