Teen Rights (and Responsibilities)

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The six sections that divide this book discuss your rights in areas such as school, home, and work. More than forty chapters contain a spectrum of topics ranging from dress codes and curfews to drug abuse and discrimination. In addition, a state-by-state legal guide provides a quick reference of individual state laws regarding such concerns as your driver's license, age of majority, marriage, and child labor law.

Included within the text are Teen Tip and Parent Tip boxes that ...

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Teen Rights (and Responsibilities)

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The six sections that divide this book discuss your rights in areas such as school, home, and work. More than forty chapters contain a spectrum of topics ranging from dress codes and curfews to drug abuse and discrimination. In addition, a state-by-state legal guide provides a quick reference of individual state laws regarding such concerns as your driver's license, age of majority, marriage, and child labor law.

Included within the text are Teen Tip and Parent Tip boxes that highlight specific suggestions from the author. An extraordinary list of organizations, websites, and agencies identify valuable sources of additional information. Hotlines are listed in the reference section to provide quick help in an emergency situation.

While written specifically for teens, this book can also serve as an outstanding guide for adults who are seeking to understand the rights and responsibilities that teenagers have in today's society.

More than forty chapters cover a spectrum of topics:
- freedom of expression
- school attendance and discipline
- discrimination
- becoming a legal adult
- parents' divorce
- insurance
- assault
- alcohol, tobacco, drugs, weapons
- eating disorders
- birth control
- abortion
- workplace issues
- owning property
- the court system

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781572485259
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 8/1/2005
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 793,887
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.84 (d)

Meet the Author

Traci Truly received her law degree and undergraduate business degree from Baylor University. She has practiced law in Dallas, Texas since 1985. She has a general practice, representing individuals in a variety of types of legal matters as well as small businesses, including Omni Entertainment, a Dallas entertainment company, and Mustang Booking Agency, also located in Dallas. Ms. Truly has written or coauthored several legal guides. Her book, Teen Rights (and Responsibilities), was named to the New York Public Library's 2003 Books for Teen Age list. She has appeared on Fox Television (The Rob Nelson Show) and on the Fox New Channel (Dayside with Linda Vestor) and in national publications including Seventeen Magazine, the AARP bulletin, and First For Women Magazine.
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Financial Responsibilities of Teens

Excerpted from Teen Rights (and Responsibilities), 2E by Traci Truly ©2005

Parents are under a legal duty to provide the basic needs for their children. The basics include food, shelter, clothing, education, and medical care. This does not mean that your parents have to buy you the most expensive or most fashionable clothes. You will note that cars are not found on the list of basics. The obligation extends to what is necessary, and not what might be desirable. Because the duty to support you ends when you become an adult, your parents will generally not be legally obligated to pay for you to attend college.

All of these obligations continue only as long as the child remains legally dependent on the parent. Once you reach the age of majority as determined by the laws of your state (usually 18), your parents' legal duty has ended and you are now responsible for yourself. Your parents' duty will also end if you go to court and become legally emancipated or if your status makes you a legal adult. (Emancipation is a procedure in which a judge signs an order making you an adult even if you are younger than the age of majority in your state.) For instance, in most states, getting married emancipates you so that you are treated as an adult. Joining the military also has the same result.

The parental obligation continues even if you do not live at home. Parents have to pay child support if their children are committed to a state juvenile correction facility or other placement outside the home. Your parents cannot get out of the duty to support you just by throwing you out of the house, either.

GETTING A JOB Although your parents are obligated to support you, they can make you get a job. As your parents, they have a constitutional right to control your upbringing. If they think it is good for you to work, they can make you go. If you have a job, however, you do not necessarily have a legal right to keep the money that you earn. Your parents have that right unless your state has a law, as many do, that allows minors to keep the money they earn. Even if you get to keep the money, your parents still have the legal right to discipline you and to direct your moral and religious training. That means they can tell you how to spend your money and impose discipline on you if you disobey their instructions. If you parents do not want you to work, they can legally forbid you from getting a job.

CHORES AND ALLOWANCE Another right that goes along with being a parent is the right to the services and earnings of their children. They can also make you mow the lawn, clean your room, and wash the car. They are not legally obligated to pay you for these things or other things that you do around the house. There is no law that entitles you to receive any specific amount of money from your parents. They can determine how to provide you with the things you need. They decide how much, if any, money to give you to spend on yourself. The only limitation is that they cannot do anything that would constitute child abuse.

ACTS OF TEENS Regardless of how old a person is, he or she is responsible for his or her own actions. Even if you are under 18 and your actions cause damages to another person, you can be ordered by a judge to pay for those damages. This would mean that the judge would enter a judgment against you. In some states, if you have a job, a monthly amount of money can be withheld from your paycheck and sent to the person to whom you owe the money. This is called wage garnishment. Of course, you may not have any money or assets to pay a judgment.

An unpaid judgment will have a negative impact on your credit rating, and the judgment can be renewed until it is paid. Your credit rating reflects your payment history for all your bills. The current trend is to use something called credit scoring, which is where a potential creditor assigns a number to your credit history. This number is affected by the amount of overall debt you have and your history of paying on time or missing payments. The number is then used to decide whether you get credit on future items or not. A poor credit rating can keep you from being able to buy a car, renting an apartment, getting a job, or getting insurance.

Parental Responsibility In some instances, parents can also be financially responsible for damages caused by their minor children. Some states have specific statutes that make parents responsible for property damages caused by their children; the extent of the liability and the upper limit of liability vary from state to state. These laws generally cover willful and intentional acts by minors that result in either property damage or personal injury.

Some states limit the recovery under these laws to governmental entities while other states allow anyone who has been damaged to proceed under the statute. Most states have some version of this law, which originally became popular as a way of controlling gang activity.

Parents can be held financially responsible if they provide the method by which the child causes harm. For instance, for providing a gun or by being careless about storing guns they own.

Some states allow parents to be sued for failing to control their children. In order for this to apply, the parent must have some reason to know that the child was likely to do whatever it was he or she did to cause the damage. If the parent has taken reasonable steps to control the child and prevent the harm caused, they will not be found liable.

Parents can also be financially responsible for the damages if the parent told the child to commit the act that caused the harm, or consented to the act. If the parent participates in the act, they will be liable for the damages on that basis.

Curfew Some courts have allowed parents to be fined for their children's curfew violations. Other states and courts have allowed parents to be held criminally responsible for the acts of their children if the parent instructed the child to do the act or the parent consented.

Assault In one case from Alaska, the state tried to hold the parents responsible for an assault committed by their 17-year-old child.

These judges let the parents off the hook by ruling that they could not have foreseen that their son would steal a gun and kill someone. It also made a difference that the parents had taken many steps to get their son's tendency to engage in violent behavior under control.

Another court in Nebraska refused to hold the parents liable for an assault committed by their child.

The case that causes the financial liability may be part of some other proceeding, just like the William George T. case was part of the proceeding against the juvenile. It can also be done as a separate proceeding, which will mean that the family will incur additional attorney's fees.

As you can see, there can be substantial financial consequences to the whole family when a teenager causes damage to someone or his or her property.

JUVENILE CRIMES When a teen is accused of violating a criminal law, there are several areas of cost for the family. If the teen is found to have committed a crime and placed either on adult or juvenile probation, there will be monthly probation fees to pay. This amount varies from case to case and state to state. In some instances in juvenile court, the judge will take the financial circumstances of the family into consideration when setting the fee. In adult court, the fee will likely be set by the county and financial considerations are not much of a factor. In adult court, there will also be a fine to pay. Restitution is also a possibility in both instances. If the teen is over eighteen, the parents have no legal obligation to pay these costs. In juvenile court, both the parents and the child are responsible unless the judge specifically makes the juvenile responsible.

If a juvenile is sent to a placement outside the home, the state pays the costs associated with the placement. Since parents have a legal duty to support their children, the juvenile court has the authority to order the parents to make child support payments to the state while the juvenile is in the placement.

Truancy (skipping school) also creates financial obligations for the family of the truant teen. Parents can be fined. Usually, the fine is set at some dollar amount for each day the child is absent from school without a valid, approved excuse. Since habitually truant teens can end up being processed in the juvenile justice system, the costs previously discussed will also apply.

Another significant cost to these proceedings is the cost for legal representation. If you qualify for a court appointed attorney, the judge can order you to reimburse a portion of the fees as part of the disposition of the case.

There will generally be more than one court appearance required. In juvenile court, the parents are required to be present in court for every hearing. The parents will have to miss work in addition to the other costs involved.

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Table of Contents

Introduction -

Section I: Teens and School

Chapter 1: The First Amendment in School -
- The Student Newspaper
- Library Books
- Religious Material
- Vulgarity and Slurs
- Apologies and Forced Speech
- The First Amendment and the Dress Code

Chapter 2: Dress Codes -
- T-Shirts
- Style of Clothes
- Earrings
- Political or Religious Clothing
- Approved Dress Codes

Chapter 3: School Prayer -
- Student-Led Prayer
- Private School Prayer

Chapter 4: Compulsory Attendance Laws, Private Schools, and Homeschooling -
- The Laws on Skipping School
- Private Schools
- Homeschooling
- Charter Schools
- Changing Laws

Chapter 5: Searches in School -
- Searching Possessions
- Strip Searches
- Locker Searches
- Student's Right to an Attorney
- Random Searches
- Private Schools

Chapter 6: Confidentiality of School Records -
- Public Records
- Subpoena

Chapter 7: Sexual Harassment in School -
- Harassment by an Official
- Student-to-Student Harassment
- You as the Accused

Chapter 8: Discrimination in Athletics -
- Contact Sports
- Non-Contact Sports
- Boys Seeking to be on Girls' Teams

Chapter 9: Students with Disabilities -
- Defining Disability
- Evaluating the Child's Needs
- Providing Services in School
- Participating in Extra Curricular Activities

Chapter 10: School Discipline -
- Written Rules
- School Police Officer
- Juvenile Detention
- Crime and Punishment
- Due Process
- Drugs and Alcohol Policies
- Corporal Punishment
- Crimes at School

Chapter 11: Expulsion from Private School -
- Suing for Money
- Deciding Factors in Court
- Private School Contract vs. Public School Notice

Chapter 12: Dropping Out and the GED -

Chapter 13: Suing the School -
- Immunities
- District Liability

Section II: Teens and Home

Chapter 14: Becoming an Adult -
- Teens Seeking Emancipation
- Parents Seeking Emancipation
- Limited Rights
- Procedure
- Divorcing Your Parents
- The In-Between Year

Chapter 15: Teens' Rights vs. the Rights of Others -
- Your Body
- Speech
- Parental Obligations and Rights
- School
- Workplace
- Your Actions
- Friends

Chapter 16: Discipline by Parents -

Chapter 17: When Parents Divorce -
- Deciding with which Parent to Live
- Dealing with Court Procedures
- Guardian Ad Litem
- Custody Order
- Child Support
- Grandparents' Rights
- Stepparents
- Kidnapping
- Foster Parents
- Adoption

Chapter 18: Running Away -
- Being Thrown Out

Chapter 19: Financial Responsibility -
- Getting a Job
- Chores and Allowance
- Acts of Teens
- Juvenile Crimes

Chapter 20: Insurance -
- Health Insurance
- Car Insurance-Liability States
- No-Fault Insurance
- Premiums

Chapter 21: Driving -
- Driver's Licenses
- Traffic Tickets
- Automobile Accidents
- Curfews

Chapter 22: Vandalism -
- Parental Responsibility
- Teen Responsibility

Chapter 23: Sexual Crimes and Physical Abuse -
- Statutory Rape
- Date Rape
- Being Underage, Yourself
- Physical Abuse

Chapter 24: Alcohol, Tobacco, Drugs, and Weapons -
- Driving Under the Influence (DUI)
- Smoking
- Drugs
- Guns and Weapons

Chapter 25: The Internet -
- Dangers
- Filters

Section III: Teens and Their Bodies

Chapter 26: Eating Disorders -
- Types of Disorders
- What to do when a Friend has an Eating Disorder
- Treatment of Eating Disorders

Chapter 27: Suicide -

Chapter 28: Birth Control -
- Condom Distribution Programs

Chapter 29: Abortion -
- Parental Notification
- Teen Fathers
- Forcing Teens to have Abortions

Chapter 30: Marriage -
- Parental Consent
- Marriage and Legal Adulthood
- Property Ownership
- Legal Marriage
- Same-Sex Marriage
- Divorce
- Parental Support

Chapter 31: Medical Care -
- Consenting to Your Own Care
- Insurance and Payment
- Drug and Alcohol Treatment
- Abortion
- Birth Control
- Prenatal Care
- Sexually Transmitted Disease
- You as an Adult

Chapter 32: Confidentiality -
- Medical Records
- Teens with Attorneys

Section IV: Teens and Work

Chapter 33: Limitations on Young Workers -
- Limits on Work Hours

Chapter 34: Rights and Obligations of Workers -
- Minimum Wage
- Overtime
- Deductions from Your Check
- Extra Benefits
- Rights to Privacy in the Workplace
- Dress and Conduct Codes
- Disabilities
- Losing Your Job
- Job Tips

Chapter 35: Discrimination in the Workplace -
- Affirmative Action
- Gender Discrimination
- Sexual Harassment in the Workplace

Section V: Teens and Property

Chapter 36: Teens and Property Ownership -
- Guardians
- Inheriting from Parents
- Death of Minors

Chapter 37: Signing Contracts -
- Banking
- Insurance
- Education
- Cancelling Contracts
- Getting it in Writing
- Cosigners
- Breach of Contract
- Authorization to Sign Contracts

Section VI: Teens and the Courts

Chapter 38: Suing and Being Sued -
- How a Lawsuit Works
- Appealing

Chapter 39: Role of the Lawyer -
- Advantages of having a Lawyer
- Advantages to Representing Yourself
- Selecting an Attorney
- Building a Relationship with Your Attorney

Chapter 40: Juveniles and the Criminal Justice System -
- Age of Majority
- Delinquency
- Pleas and Disposition
- Procedure
- Constitutional Protections
- Confessing
- Use of Juvenile Records
- Adult Proceedings for Juveniles
- The Adult Criminal System

Chapter 41: Dependency and Neglect Cases -
- Abuse
- Teen Parents

Chapter 42: Teens as Crime Victims -

Chapter 43: Legal Research -
- Statutes and Codes
- Cases

Glossary -
Table of Cases -
Appendix A: List of Resources -
Appendix B: State-by-State Laws -
Index -
About the Author -

Traci Truly received her J.D. from Baylor University. She has practiced family law since 1985, which has included representing parents and grandparents in support, visitation, and custody cases. She was previously a member of the Texas Coalition for Juvenile Justice. Ms. Truly currently practices law in Dallas, TX.

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