Students oppose plan that pays young offenders
Editor's note: Ten students -- Jessica Huff, Jake Culver, Lori Wolfe, Brian Meredith, Jackson Greene, Matt Holshouser, Tiffany Henderson, Sarah Hale, Tiffany Ashby and Darren J. Henderson -- at the Alternative Education Center in Cape Girardeau wrote letters to the editor after they read the Jan. 9 article, "A matter of respect," in the Southeast Missourian. The article described the Respect Yourself program at the Cape Family Resource Center that gives teen-agers -- most referred by the juvenile court system -- $100 for watching 12 hours of videos and a $25 bonus for completing a citizenship package. All of the AEC students voiced their opposition to the program in their letters. Here is an example:
To the editor:
I think the Respect Yourself program is not a very good program at all. You shouldn't pay juveniles to steal. That is how I see this program. They steal. They watch movies. They get $125, clothes and a job. Sounds like fun to me.
The teen-agers should not be rewarded for breaking the law. They should get jail time and fines.
The money for this program should be used to get non-criminals jobs. I went out and found a job in one day with no problem. Anyone can get a job. You just really have to be committed to get a job.
DARREN J. HENDERSON
Alternative Education Center