Article Quote: "Undoubtedly, California is overdue for a comprehensive reform effort to end the neglect and mistreatment of any other “Josephs” – abused, disabled, special education children caught up in a juvenile justice system we only imagined existed in a Charles Dickens story."
This story is truly heartbreaking. It is a glimpse into the reality of how "broken" our system truly is. Or how broken our systems truly are, rather.
It's the story of a child - let's not forget that in all of the other facts; Joseph is indeed a child - who was remanded to Juvenile Justice for the beginning of his maximum 40 year sentence. Yet this isn't just about his sentence. It is about his complex mental health needs, his history of abuse, and his need for placement in a facility that can address his needs. Because at the end of the day, all students have a right to an education - and all students with disabilities have a right to an education that is appropriate to meet their needs. In this case, those responsible for this child failed him. They denied him those basic rights. Ultimately, the Juvenile Justice system has been deemed "incapable of meeting Joseph's complex mental health needs." And now, the agencies responsible for his education are mandated to locate a residential placement that is capable of doing so.
These issues are so difficult yet so important.
As a society, we simply MUST address mental health, and the system-wide missed opportunities to serve kids in need, and the overwhelming issues in our juvenile justice and special education systems.