Press Watch for July-August 2002

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Cultural Divide Over Parental Discipline
The New York Times

Cultural differences concerning corporal punishment are causing problems for some immigrant families in the United States who run afoul of child protection laws when they discipline their children. Advocacy groups in New York are trying to inform the city’s immigrant population about welfare laws to keep them out of trouble. May 29. (registration required).

Trust Betrayed: When Students Are Sexually Abused by Teachers …
American School Board Journal

A sexual abuse expert estimates that 15 percent of students will have been sexually abused by a school staff member by the time they graduate. More schools are screening potential employees – 12 states require screening by law – and taking allegations of abuse more seriously. June.

Moms Fight State’s Sex Offender Laws
Detroit Free Press

Teens caught having sex with other underage youth in Michigan risk being placed on the state’s sex offender registry. Some parents think the sex offender registry rules are unfair for teens in committed relationships, and cause unwarranted stigma. A bill giving judges discretion over cases involving teens 16 and younger is working its way through the state legislature. May 30.

Feds Nix Articles on Gay Adoption
The Washington Blade

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services blocked two commentaries and a story on gay adoption from running in an association newsletter funded by the agency. The Association of Administrators of the Interstate Compact on Adoption and Medical Assistance has a five-year contract with the agency worth $150,000 a year to help publish the newsletter. Agency officials said the pieces were not relevant to the readership. The commentaries offered opposing views on gay adoptions; the article reported on Rosie O’Donnell’s public disclosure that she is a lesbian raising three adopted children. May 24. (202) 234-5400,

Sex Abuses in Schools Draw Little Attention; Incidents Between Teens and Teachers Are Not Rare
Associated Press, Contra Costa Times

Although teacher-student sex cases are not rare across the country,
they receive little national attention beyond a few sensational cases. Some experts point to a widespread permissive attitude toward such relationships and cite a lack of national reporting procedures. June 9. ($2.95 retrieval fee).

School ‘Bonding’ Effort Shows Lasting Results
National Public Radio

A Seattle program that helped children “bond” or feel a sense of belonging to their elementary schools has shown dramatic benefits as the children grow into adults. Students who were enrolled in the Skills, Opportunities And Recognition program, or SOAR, later did better in school and had lower rates of dropping out, delinquent behaviors, teen pregnancies and substance abuse. May 23.


The National Mental Health Association announced winners of its 2002 media awards in June. Following are the association’s descriptions of winners of youth-related stories.

It’s a Crime: How America’s Mentally Ill Teens Are Trapped in Juvenile Lockups

Steve Twedt, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

A series that takes a hard look at America’s juvenile justice system and a model program to help kids in crisis. Winner, newspapers with a circulation of more than 100,000.

Youth at Risk

Eric Newhouse, Great Falls Tribune (Mont.)

An in-depth series that brings to light issues surrounding kids with mental illness in Montana. Winner, newspapers with a circulation of less than 100,000.

Crashing Hard Into Adulthood

Gail Fisher, Los Angeles Times

A compelling photographic essay documenting the lives of three young adults after they left the foster care system. Winner, photojournalism.