Posted at: 07/28/2014 6:49 AM
Updated at: 07/28/2014 6:19 PM
By: Berkeley Brean
It costs taxpayers in our community tens of thousands of dollars for every teenager who should be in school, but is in the county jail.
As part of News10NBC’s ongoing series, New York State Exposed Education, News10NBC introduced you to two 17-year-olds in the jail. They are now both out of jail.
News10NBC wanted to know what they are doing and what the system is prepared to do for them.
News10NBC caught up with DeAndre Dent. Dent was locked up in Monroe County Jail for robbery.
Dent said, “You miss your family a lot. It is not a place to be.”
Last month, News10NBC talked with DeAndre and another 17-year-old, Carlos Serrano. Both are out of jail now.
News10NBC tried to talk to Carlos, but he and his family wanted nothing to do with us. They say he is home with his two-year-old son.
But DeAndre talked to us. We met him last week at the Urban League, trying to figure out what the options are for a 17-year-old, who is behind in school and who has just spent the better part of a year in jail.
Dent said, “It made me really sit down and think what I got to do when I come out for my second chance. I have to stay out of trouble and stop hanging around with the wrong people.”
There are a lot of teenagers like DeAndre. That is why the Rochester City School District has a specific program designed to transition school aged kids from jail back into school. Beverly Burrell-Moore helps runs the program.
Beverly Burrell-Moore, Deputy Superintendent of Teaching and Learning, said, “We work with them to make sure their basic needs are met, like social, emotional needs, clothing and housing. We make sure all that is met within the context of our school day.”
The program is not free. It takes counselors, social workers, time and money. It is an investment in a second chance.
Burrell-Moore said, “If we bring those services and those supports to them and help them re-engage and move on from that mistake, mistakes that many of us have made and know to be a success. If we do that and they go on and become a productive citizen and they end up giving back to their community or they give back to their family, then absolutely, the investment is worth it.”
Dent said, “My main goal is to finish school. That's my main goal. My second goal is to find a job or something. Those are my main goals right now, finish school and find a job.”
DeAndre promised that he would be in school on the first day and News10NBC wants to be there to see him do it. If you want to help someone like DeAndre make it, the Rochester City School District Volunteer number is 262-8133.