earns PTA award
...Judge Susan Watkins, right, thanks the audience after she was chosen the PTA Citizen of the Year.
has been in criminal and juvenile law for 18 years, and she
helped start Youth Court in the area, which is also in its 18th year.Watkins is a YouthFriend mentor, youth leader at her church, PTA board member and is a member of the Juvenile Crime Coalition.
was also the guest speaker at the event and spoke of the Truancy Court, established in 1999.She
said the goal is to keep children safe and in school.
...Judge Susan Watkins
"It's sometimes not a matter of putting the child in school, but of needing assistance, and parents don't know how to ask for it," Watkins
said."These students could be homeless, and the school district doesn't know yet, or they could have mental issues.It could also be as simple as a child needing glasses or dental work.This is not a typical court setting, but we are dealing with all types of life issues." Watkins
also discussed the Independence Youth Court Program.The juvenile diversion program was established in 1986 and was the first of its kind in Missouri.She
said the purpose is to try to keep students from having a criminal record and to keep them out of the regular court system.