A Young Teen Has Been in Juvenile Detention for Two Months for Failing to Do Her Online Homework

A 15-year-old Michigan girl who has been incarcerated in a juvenile facility for months because she failed to complete her online coursework will not be going home, a judge ruled this week.

Criminal justice advocates across the country have been gripped by the story out of Oakland County. At its center is a Black girl known only to the public as Grace.

ProPublica has discussed the case at length. Grace, a high school sophomore with ADHD, has had a history of trouble at school and within the home where she lives with her mother. She was placed on probation in April but failed to complete her online school coursework, which is one of the requirements. She was consequently ordered to be detained and has been since Mid-May.

Grace’s legal counsel tried unsuccessfully to get her back home this week.

“I miss my mom. I can control myself. I can be obedient,” she told Oakland County Family Court Judge Mary Ellen Brennan. The judge responded, “I think you are exactly where you are supposed to be. You are blooming there, but there is more work to be done.”

Grace’s plight has ignited a national movement. Her story is being held out as an example of systemic racism and the school-to-prison pipeline. Activists have been using the hashtag #FreeGrace to demand an end to the young girl’s incarceration. Some have also called on Judge Brennan to resign.


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