Jacksonville ‘Misdemeanor Diversion Program’ aims to keep kids out of courts

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JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — Representatives from Jacksonville Public Safety, Onslow County Schools, Department of Social Services and the Court system met to sign the Onslow County Inter-Agency Agreement on the handling of school offenses on Monday.

The meeting comes as partners in responding to non-emergency school disruptions “strive to ensure a consistent response to student misbehavior, clarify the role of law enforcement in school disciplinary matters, efficiently utilize alternative support service and reduce the involvement of law enforcement and court agencies in minor misconduct at school and at school-related events.”

Jacksonville’s Misdemeanor Diversion Program is now the main incentive to ensure the above.

Diverting those away from juvenile court will allow us to spend the time, the resources, the man power that we need to on the more serious offenses.

Ernie Lee, District Attorney for the 5th District

The program, in the works over the last two years, helps kids that get into trouble while in school on the right path. Instead of going to court or serving jail time, they complete another task agreed to upon the department and student.

“This multi-tiered system of intervention and support in responding to student misconduct will allow students to be held accountable for misconduct in order to learn from their mistakes, take responsibility for their actions and reconnect to the school community,” said Chief Mike Yaniero, Director of Jacksonville Public Safety. 

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