Building A Future- Part One

By: Ryan Dearbone
By: Ryan Dearbone

18-year-old Marguarita Whiteside says she is looking forward to her senior year in high school.

Not long ago her attitude towards school, and life was much different.

"I was skipping school, running out of buildings and the police coming by my mom's house asking me where I was. Then it went from things like that to smoking and different stuff. Then it turned into a big mess."

Stories like this aren't very uncommon.

"The number one offense here in Warren County is truancy and that's the same state-wide, that's the biggest problem we have is truancy," says Warren County Court Designated Worker, Judy Shelton.

"Sometimes its a dislike for school, lack of positive peer groups and feeling that they aren't making any progress like they should or need to to continue in school."

Family court judge, Margaret Huddleston says she's seen many cases in her 8 years on the bench.

She says truancy is a precursor to bigger crimes and much deeper issues.

"The underlying problems with the beyond control and runaways usually are some substance abuse and some other times mental health issues."

All people, I don't care if they're children or adults, all people want attention. Many young people learn that the easiest way for them to get attention is to misbehave," says Slim Nash.

For some juveniles, misbehavior is the only way to get the attention from their peers and adults.

"Most kids get very little attention when they follow the rules for following the rules, because they're meeting the expectation."

The City Commissioner makes his living working with juveniles.

Nash says the problem can usually be traced back to the juveniles home life.

"If all behavior is learned and you have a young person who is committing acts of juvenile delinquency 9 out of 10 times its because that young person doesn't have the direction, the guidance, and the structure they need withing the home, and so they've learned this delinquent behavior on their own."

Whiteside said her bottoming out point came in the face of going to drug court.

"When I got that last charge and they sent me to drug court, it just made me realize that this has got to stop."


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