Attorney for Teenager

Archived Q&A and Reviews

My 14-year-old grandson was arrested for knife at school

March 2009

I need help! I have a 14-year old grandson, who has ADD/PTSD/Asperger's Syndrome. Twice, he has taken a boyscout knife to school, showed it during a confrontation with a kid who was encouraging him to fight him, was arrested, and now has received State of California Arraignment papers. Does anyone know where we can go to get legal and community advocacy help?. This is a kid who has an 10yr old's emotional and mental age.

Does your grandson have an IEP? If so, you can request a manifestation hearing. Here is some info from ''A manifestation determination meeting is triggered by some disciplinary action that will effectively change a student's placement. For instance, if a student is suspended for more than 10 days or expelled or if they are going to an alternative school or boot camp or to a more restrictive setting.

The purpose of the manifestation hearing is to answer 2 basic questions:
- Are whatever charges against a student a manifestation of their disability? and
- Are whatever charges brought against a student a direct result of the school\xc2\x92s failure to provide services to the student as outlined in the IEP?''

For more info you can also contact DREDF (Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund: Best of luck! Jan

I do know someone who might be able help you. Jora Trang is an attorney I met at a KidPower workshop. My recollection is that she works with teens with legal problems. I was impressed by her caring. You can reach her at 415-515-9341.

Also consider sending your child to a KidPower workshop to learn ''People Safety'' skills. He will learn how to handle situations like this non-violently, knowing how to defuse a situation and when to walk away. He also will learn self-defense skills for use as a last resort. My family recently took a FamilyPower workshop with them and all 3 of us had fun and feel much more confident about handling possible troublesome situations safely. They have experience teaching kids with developmental delays. I encourage you to contact Irene van der Zande or Ericka at safety [at] and describe your situation. They are warm and reassuring and can advise you which workshop would be best for him. You also can go to the KidPower site at I highly recommended their workshops for all adults and kids, even those who are preschoolers. Nancy