A Michigan judge has refused to release a 15-year-old Black girl who was jailed for failing to complete her online school work. On Monday (July 20), Judge Mary Brennan denied a motion to release the teen who has been locked up at a juvenile facility since May.
According to Pro Publica, the teen’s lawyer argued that she hasn’t received adequate education and proper support while in the facility. Judge Brennan believes that the girl has a ways to go before she can be released.
“I think you are exactly where you are supposed to be,” Brennan said. “You are blooming there, but there’s more work to be done.”
During the hourlong hearing, the girl and her mother were allowed to embrace for the first time in months due to COVID-19 restrictions.
“This morning for you, respectfully, it is going to get worse before it gets better,” Judge Brennan told the high school sophomore before going through her reported history of bad behavior. “Because I am about over all the crap, all the negative, all the prior attempts at helping I am going through it all.”
Judge Brennan’s husband, attorney Ed Lennon, defended her decision. Lennon claims that the public is being “misled” about why the girl is in juvenile detention, and implied that she is a danger to her mother.
The teen, who has ADHD, was previously arrested for assault and theft after reportedly biting her mother and pulling her hair, along with stealing a fellow student’s cell phone. She was taken into custody after it was determined that she violated her probation by not completing her school work.
In March, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued an executive order temporarily suspending juvenile confinement unless the person poses a “substantial and immediate” risk to others.
As many students around the globe are adjusting to at-home learning in wake of the pandemic, some are falling behind in their studies. According to a new report, at least 800,000 students lack access to reliable internet, making it difficult to access to learning materials.