Teske to testify before U.S. Senate

Juvenile judge will speak on school-to-prison pipeline

Steven Teske

Steven Teske

— Clayton County Chief Juvenile Court Judge Steve Teske is one of seven education and judicial officials scheduled to testify before a U.S. Senate subcommittee on the “school-to-prison” pipeline Wednesday.

Teske said he has been invited by U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) to testify on the topic of “ending the school-to-prison pipeline.” The hearings are being held by the Senate judiciary committee’s Subcommittee on the constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights.

“This is the first time [the Senate] has taken up the issue of the school-to-prison pipeline,” Teske said.

A draft copy of Teske’s remarks shows he plans to “define” zero tolerance and its faults. The planned remarks show he will likely talk about how school system’s zero tolerance policies can result in students, who frequently get into trouble at school, ultimately ending up in prison.

He also plans on talking about how zero tolerance policies in Clayton County had a negative impact on high school graduation rates and school safety, as well as how the school district and juvenile court system worked together to address the issue.

Teske has spoken frequently across the country, and written opinion-editorial pieces for newspapers in neighboring states, on zero tolerance and the school-to-prison pipeline. He has also hosted court representatives from other states who have been interested in examining Clayton County’s approach to the situation.

In Clayton County, a warning is given to students and their parents on the pupil’s first offense, a referral to a conflict skills workshop after the second offense and a referral to the court system on their third offense, according to Teske.

He added a multi-disciplinary panel, made up of mental health professionals, school social workers and counselors, a juvenile court officer, social service workers and child service providers has also been created. He said the efforts have resulted in a 67.4 percent drop in court referrals since the efforts were put into place in 2003.


Robert 2 years, 10 months ago

I don't know Judge Teske but from what I have seen and heard about him he is a pretty smart guy. I'm glad to hear that the issues of juvenile delinquency are being looked at because I don't care what solves the problem but doing nothing obviously isn't working and today's parenting skills doesn't seem to be working either.


OscarKnight 2 years, 10 months ago

....The Clayton County Courts has always been shy about inflicting punishment on Juveniles, I see absolutely no difference with this judge.

......Maybe this Judge should begin taking a troll around the Mall two times per week, to begin seeing the results of his work, and the work of the parents in this county.


Lunchman 2 years, 10 months ago

I have known Judge Teske and his family for over 20 years, I have never know him to do things half way, without looking at all sides of a concern before acting and yes Robert a pretty smart guy. He has a way of looking through people "bull" and get to the heart of the matter. Throwing juveniles in the court system is not always the answer: not all juveniles make good choices especially around peers. My understanding of Judge Teske's approach is to "treat" the whole family. I have never been a support of zero tolerance in our school system because it does not teach anything except show how it makes it easier for the school system to not deal with the problem just get rid of it.


Robert 2 years, 9 months ago

I got in trouble in school and was both paddled and suspended for not making good choices but the things these kids are doing today are burglary, murder, robbery, rape, stealing cars and shooting at the police. Something has to be done to stop this "gangsta" style mentality. I hope that Teske and others will be able to find a solution. I would include the school board but they can't solve their own problems, and they're (suppose to be) adults.


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