Bill Focuses On Studying At-Risk Youth

Feb 24, 2017

Senator Whitney Westerfield

A Kentucky Senate panel voted Thursday for a bill supporting an effort to gather statistics on how minorities are treated in schools, juvenile courts and other institutions.


Testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee Campbell District Judge Karen Thomas said such information-gathering is already underway in her judicial district, “If we don’t know who they are, we can’t help them.” she said. “We can’t fix any problems if we’re not identifying issues and concerns, if there is disproportionate confinement.”

Chairman Whitney Westerfield said more black youth are ending up in juvenile justice, social welfare, and educational discipline systems than white youth. Westerfield said after the information gathering, next steps are difficult to determine right now.

“Maybe it means more training for this group or that.  Maybe it means there’s something that’s not in state government, but it’s in our communities or in our homes or something.  I don’t know.  Maybe we can’t identify where ever it is.”  

The legislation also defines physical restraint and sets limits on such disciplinary practices in schools.​