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Morning Report: Juvenile Halls Across the State Are Practically Empty

Image courtesy of NBC San Diego

In the ‘90s, tough-on-crime politicians predicted a wave of teenage “super predators,” and they built juvenile halls and camps to prepare.

But the wave never came in fact, juvenile crime has been on the decline and ideas about how the juvenile justice system should work changed. As a result, juvenile detention facilities in San Diego County are virtually empty.

San Diego County’s four juvenile detention facilities can hold 855 young people at capacity, but on a recent Wednesday, they held just 311 youths, reports VOSD’s Will Huntsberry. Just eight years ago, the numbers of kids locked up in the county was three times as high.

Huntsberry delves into the reasons behind the decline and looks at how the county will use all the empty space.

  • Huntsberry sat down with Tracy Thompson, who runs education programs for incarcerated youth at the San Diego County Office of Education for this week’s Learning Curve. Thomas, who grew up in southeastern San Diego and was involved with a gang, discusses how his experience motivated him to give back to his old neighborhood and how high expectations for all students – no matter their background – can make a huge difference.
  • Wait, who’s Will Huntsberry? Voice’s new education reporter was introduced on our Good Schools for All podcast.

Former San Diego Teacher Arrested for Relationship With Student

This week, a former social science teacher at La Jolla Country Day School was arrested in the Bay Area on three felony counts of sexual misconduct with a minor, NBC 7 reports. Although the charges were filed locally, it’s not clear where and when the alleged crimes took place, or if concerns were ever raised when he taught in La Jolla.

The teacher’s new private school employer in San Jose told NBC 7 that the charges were filed after that school had completed a background check.

Getting records of sexual misconduct investigations conducted by public schools can be difficult and may require litigation, but getting misconduct records from private schools is even harder. Private schools aren’t subject to California’s public records laws, and educators often aren’t required to have a teaching credential. Only when cases land in civil or criminal court does the public get to see behind the private school curtain.

The details of the case are still unknown, but it’s not unheard of for public or private school teachers investigated for sexual misconduct to take another teaching job elsewhere. Victim advocates call the practice “passing the trash” when schools enable employees to do so with things like confidentiality agreements.

Councilman: Trump Trade Policy Causing Trash Buildup

City Councilman Chris Cate wants the Trump administration to make recycling a high priority in trade talks with China because the city has too much waste. In the past, San Diego sent most of its recyclables to China. But China recently imposed new restrictions on recycled material coming from abroad. That threatens to increase city waste management expenses and could cause paper, plastics and metals to be thrown into landfills rather than reused.

Cate outlined his thoughts on Thursday in a letter to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

President Trump’s protectionist trade policies have previously draw criticism from other politicians in San Diego, which is the largest city in the country with a Republican mayor. Mayor Kevin Faulconer, for instance, has repeatedly talked about the importance of trade with Tijuana.

In Other News

  • In response to the electronic bikes and scooters flooding streets and sidewalks, a new San Diego panel is tasked with rethinking our transportation infrastructure planning. (Union-Tribune)
  • Vox reports that the Trump administration is giving families another chance to claim asylum and even some parents who’ve already been deported might be eligible.
  • The economy is booming in many toss-up congressional districts, which could have political implications in the fall races. That includes California’s 49th, which spans San Diego and Orange counties mostly along the coast. (Reuters)
  • Tijuana plastic bag ban, approved last month, is expected to help clean up the city’s beaches as well as a river valley in Imperial Beach. Jean Guerrero of KPBS reports that plastic bags didn’t saturate Tijuana until NAFTA brought mass consumer culture in the ‘90s.
  • The U-T reports that SDG&E has been feeling the heat since August — from many of its customers. One Fallbrook couple was recently hit with a $656 bill that included a new fee for going over the residential monthly baseline of energy usage for their area.
  • A new book on the NFL, written by a New York Times magazine reporter, portrays Chargers owners Dean Spanos as well-liked by his partners around the league, but not well-respected. They seem to view him as “a hapless little brother,” the book says. (Union-Tribune)
  • R.I.P., David Davis. The former KUSI anchor and reporter was killed in a crash in Texas. (Union-Tribune)

The Morning Report was written by Maya Srikrishnan and Jesse Marx, and edited by Sara Libby.

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