Cross-Departmental Collaboration Brings New Perspective to Education, Juvenile Justice
Faculty from the departments of criminal justice and urban education collaborated to host more than 15 teachers and probation officers from the Harris County Juvenile Probation Department (HCJPD) for a workshop last week. Led by Traqina Emeka, associate professor of criminal justice, and Bernardo Pohl, assistant professor of urban education, the presentation and training were a part of the HCJPD staff's annual professional development requirements.
The professors provided their expertise regarding juvenile delinquency, learning disabilities and special education services in public schools and the juvenile justice system.
During the three-hour workshop, Emeka - a former special education teacher for North Forest Independent School District - shared her knowledge about the low academic performance of youth in the juvenile system. She demonstrated how common it is for these young individuals to require special education services for learning disabilities and/or emotional disturbance. She also explained to the attendees the educational difficulties facing young people who enter the juvenile justice system.
In his presentation, Pohl - a former teacher with over ten years of experience in special education at Cypress Fairbanks Independent School District - instructed attendees on the details regarding special education, including how public schools provide these services.
"It was a very productive workshop," Pohl said. "Education and juvenile justice are so closely linked."