A Connecticut family has filed a lawsuit claiming a public school district, a trio of high school teachers and others engaged in a “predatory religious indoctrination” that left their daughters speaking a “bizarre new language.”  The named defendants in the case include three teachers and a school counselor. The article (from CNN) doesn’t link to the court documents, and few details are given. Still, if this is true, it’s highly disturbing.

I’m so used to thinking about school counseling in terms of the fifty states, that I’m ashamed to say I’ve never given much thought to students in outlying areas or the U.S. territories. That being the case, this was a real eye-opener. According to the article, “less than one in five Pacific Islanders who took the ACT met the scoring benchmarks in all four of the exam’s subject areas, which are English, Reading, Mathematics and Science. Another 11 percent met the benchmarks in three. 40 percent of Pacific Islanders met zero benchmarks.” That’s worrisome.

In juvenile courts across the country, children often face the full weight of the criminal justice system without the protection of a defense attorney.” According to the article, “Children may be unrepresented for a variety of reasons, including lack of access to a public defender or pressure from judges or prosecutors to waive their constitutional right to an attorney.” While this article focuses on the situation in Colorado, counselors working in other states need to know whether or not their students will be provided with appropriate legal representation should the need arise.