by Dawn Hawkins
- In the United States, it is common practice to withhold the names of juvenile offenders for any crime. This practice is in place to protect the juvenile offender's future. Kids often make rash decisions without thinking about the future. The current laws protect kids (and society) from having to pay for the rest of their lives for a youthful mistake.
- In the United States, teens placed on sex offender lists for ridiculous reasons suffer enough already. For example, many students find themselves convicted of sex offenses after taking and sharing photographs with other students (such as a case against six teenagers in Pennsylvania). Each "offender" acted of his or her own free will, yet earned a place on a sex offenders list. The same thing happens when a 15-year-old boy has consensual sex with a 14-year-old girl. These are just a couple of examples of bad judgment on the part of prosecutors. One can debate whether students should engage in sexual activity, but prosecutors have no place in these examples. A law such as the one Rep. Pearson wishes to enact will only hurt these types of "sex offenders." These are not criminals. These are teenagers behaving like teenagers.
- This law only strengthens the ability for law enforcement and communities to further harm the teen offenders such as listed above. It encourages abuse of an already dysfunctional system. Prosecutors are already having a field day at the expense of the American teenager. This law could make it impossible for a teen with a sex offense to get an education, even when the "crime" he/she committed should not be a crime at all.
- If laws like House Bill 1208 get enacted, teens with sex offenses stand little chance of rehabilitation. Instead of encouraging the young person to get on the right track, he/she has little hope of rising above the challenge for a bright future. The entire country suffers because of it. These students will likely see little reason to change current behaviors because no incentive for them exists.