REAL TALK REAL CHANGE 3
YOUTH RIGHTS – RIGHT NOW !!!!
A Dialogue On The Fair Representation And Equitable
Treatment of 16 – 24 year olds.
“A child, like all other human beings, has inalienable
rights” Lucretia Mott
This historic dialogue was attended by several hundred
youth of all ages, nationalities and cultures representing
diversity throughout Jacksonville and Northeast Florida.
While Republicans engaged in debate at University of
North Florida that were at times disrespectful and
demeaning more important and far reaching debate and
dialogues were diagnosed and discussed concerning the
future of our community; the teens, tweens and young
adults that reside here, make an economic impact,
attend our educational institutions, and the affects of the
criminal system on our youth.
The youth in attendance were able to ask questions
generating an enriching discussion opening up further
talks about the responsibilities and accountably of
parents, law enforcement, politicians and educators.
Professional Educators, Social Service providers,
those that care for Foster children, Church Leaders,
Health Department representatives and Law Enforce-
ment representatives attended the event to get an under-
standing of youths interpretation of their place in society.
Many of those attending were unaware of the existence
of Youth Rights Laws nationally
and internationally, “Convention on the Rights of the Child”
Even still learning about the types of rights; Cultural,
Political, Economic, Educational, and Religious was new
to many. Those in the service to youth were probing and
cautious about their roles and procedures related to Youth
Rights in schools, classrooms and even in Ministry. The
importance of youth understanding their rights was
consistently discussed by the panelists using their unique
professional experiences and careers backgrounds. The
dialogue was guided by Lisa Buggs and Cal Jackson,
Panelist Dr. Goldhagen shared that the United States is the
only country that does not recognize nor support adhering
to youth rights and youth are seen as properly not individuals.
Internationally youth are recognized as having rights even
though they are sometimes not enforced, but they are
respected as members of their respective countries
and societies. Dr. Jeffery Goldhagen, Physician of
Pediatrics reinforced the importance of youth under-
standing that there are rights available to them and the
best thing youth can do is to be educated in the rights
they have. Empowering the discussion from a legal
and juvenile justice perspective, panelist
Mr. Kevin Cobbin, Esq., Attorney explained that
depending on the situation youth can exercise their
rights when approached and questioned by law
enforcement. The key is to be respectful and not
To use their resources such as their cell phones to call
parents and guardians to make them aware if they are
being pulled over and youth can record their conversation
they have with law enforcement officers. Many youth feel
harassed and violated by police and are not aware they
can refuse being searched if asked. They have a right to
legal and parental council if questioned by the police and
have a right not to answer questions if a parent or legal
guardian or lawyer is not present.
Prof. William Jackson, M.Ed., Educator with DCPS and
Edward Waters College encouraged the youth and parents
to read the Student Code of Conduct that is provided at
schools, to be informed about their rights in school. Many
students and parents do not read the Student Code of
Conduct so are not informed about their rights in school
and the policies and procedures for discipline and
consequences of behaviors that are questionable.
The emphasis on educational empowerment, and to treat
educators with respect because to receive respect you have
to give respect. Prof. Jackson talked to parents about modeling
behavior for their children and if parents are disrespectful to
authority, teachers and administrators their children will
follow. Prof. Jackson, an instructor at EWC also discussed
the responsibilities of students in higher education to under-
stand that they are considered adults and expected to accept
responsibility for their successes and failures. Not to blame
instructors for low grades or failing because in the “real world”
productivity and accountability are what matter, not excuses.
Panelists, Mr. Corey Carson, student of Florida State College
of Jacksonville, Florida shared that youth feel that no one
listens to them and they are not taken seriously. He advised
for students to take an active role in politics, community
development and be involved in creating the policies for youth
in politics and education, have a collective voice in their churches
Finally, panelists Ms. Allison Smith, The Bridge has traveled
the world, working with youth shared that problems youth have
are worldwide. In the United States youth are similar worldwide
with the struggles of acceptability and responsibility. To create
affective change youth must be involved and organized in positive
ways to make meaningful and worthwhile changes to the
conditions of youth. Youth and their parents should take education
seriously to help develop future leaders that can bring positive
and affective change for youth, preparing for the future.
A great deal of information was shared and the youth attending
asked meaningful, intelligent, and community changing questions.
Mr. Anthony Butler, Sr., Executive Director of E3 complimented
the youth and parents attending, stating this is how movements
develop and grow. This being the third Real Talk Real Change
brought to light the need for parents to continue to be involved in
their children’s lives even as they progress through the educational
system. Work to keep youth out of the Judicial System where many
become products of criminal behaviors that destroy young people’s
lives and have far reaching detrimental effects in employment and
continued education. Mr. Butler shared that The North Florida
Chapter of E3 has entrepreneurs who believe in giving
back to the community they do business in. Resources are available
for youth and their families that need help in finding the correct
service and personnel to help youth navigate difficult challenges
they may face.
For contact information or to request panelists information
please call (888) 525-2299 x 119 or firstname.lastname@example.org
To have one of the panelists come to speak on a particular subject
to a youth group or church ministry please contact each panelists
through E3 and provide your contact information to be given to the
panelists you requested.
More information about Youth Rights can be found at Convention
on the Rights of the Child, http://www.unicef.org/crc/Duval County Public Schools Code of Conduct can be found and
William Jackson, M.Edu.