Juvenile Justice in California: A Rhetorical Approach

byJennifer L. Vermillion

A summary of the causes of the school-to-prison pipeline and strategies for teachers to help use social justice and brain development research to stem the flow as well as research and lessons on juvenile justice to build empathy in students.  Strategies and research for classroom teachers will provide rationale for the use of restorative justice and other practices and to avoid pushing students out of the classroom.  Articles and strategies for students focus on rhetorical analysis appropriate for senior English and designed to engage and create educated voters able to converse about issues like race, incarceration, juvenile justice, social justice, adolescent brain development, and implicit bias.  Focus on students of color, and particularly Latinos, allows relevance for current events and a consideration of rehabilitation versus the punitive nature of justice in California.  Students will familiarize themselves with various strategies to analyze the art of persuasion and rhetorical strategies such as journaling, annotating a text, descriptive outlining, writing a rhetorical précis, and SOAPSTONE.  While the unit is intended for a senior English class with a focus on rhetorical analysis, government, history, and sociology teachers may find the content useful.

(Developed for English-ERWC, grade 12; recommended for English and Sociology, grades 10-12)

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