Michigan teenager incarcerated for failing to do her online schoolwork amid pandemic

A Michigan teenager reportedly had her probation revoked and was sent to a juvenile detention center after she failed to complete online coursework assigned to her by teachers.

ProPublica reported Tuesday that a Black 15-year-old, identified by the news outlet only as Grace, had her probation revoked by a white judge over a month ago and has been in custody since the hearing over “failure to submit to any schoolwork and getting up for school.”

Grace previously was put on probation for allegedly fighting with her mother and stealing, according to the news outlet. However, ProPublica could not locate any other examples of children taken into custody over failure to complete schoolwork.

The teen had also not violated her probation except for failure to complete her schoolwork, according to the news outlet. Grace is reportedly diagnosed with a learning disability, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. She has also entered therapy.

“She hasn’t fulfilled the expectation with regard to school performance,” said Judge Mary Allen Brennan, who presided over the teen’s case, during the sentencing. “I told her she was on thin ice and I told her that I was going to hold her to the letter, to the order, of the probation.”

The teen’s teacher apparently disagreed with Brennan’s characterization, telling the news outlet that Grace’s performance was “not out of alignment with most of my other students.”

Brennan declined to comment further when contacted by ProPublica. Grace’s probation violation order was apparently filed after a caseworker found that she had fallen asleep after a morning check-in, according to the news outlet.

Schools across the country have moved to remote learning amid the COVID-19 pandemic, forcing many students to adjust to new learning patterns and different expectations for schoolwork.

The Trump administration has pushed for the nation’s schools to reopen for in-person learning in the fall, a move that has faced resistance from teachers and other lawmakers. 

Many school districts across the country have in particular reported issues monitoring the success of online learning. Many disadvantaged students such as those in foster care, low-income communities or living with disabilities risk falling through the cracks as they do not have proper resources available such as internet or one-on-one time to complete their school work.  

Tags Michigan online learning

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