Teenagers and the law? Aren't teenagers supposed to have the same rights and freedoms accorded to all Americans? Intuitively, you might think "yes," but it is not always true that teenagers and adults are treated the same way in the eyes of the law.
Thomas Jacobs, a former Arizona Superior Court Judge, Juvenile Division, lays down the law – and explains it in easy-to–understand terms – in his book, "What Are My Rights?" ($14.95, Free Spirit Publishing, ages 12 and up). By knowing the law, and more importantly, the consequences of breaking it, teens can recognize their responsibilities as teenage citizens and make informed choices about their future.
Using a question-and-answer format, "What Are My Rights?" will help teens understand how the law affects them in virtually every decision they, or the adults around them, make. Questions include:
• Who has the right to discipline me?
• Can I sign a contract?
• What if I use fake ID?
• Do I have to obey my teacher?
• Can I be put in foster care? For how long?
• Can my parents force me to follow their religion?
• What will happen if I ditch school?
"What Are My Rights?" covers the complete spectrum of teen life by explaining the laws that govern family (adoption, divorce, discipline and abuse), schools (skipping, suspension, uniforms and drug tests), and jobs (minimum wage to entrepreneurship).
Jacobs also discusses the legal consequences of complex teen dilemmas such as birth control, abortion, date rape, smoking, drinking and drug use, and poses thought-provoking questions to spark discussion and debate in the classroom and at home.
The book offers a concise explanation of how the legal system functions – where teens "fit" or can get lost – as well as frank information about crimes and punishments. It's a user-friendly guide full of surprising information about the rights of young people in America.