Juvenile court officer addresses MCC school board.

April 23, 2018

Charlie Gunsell addresses the board and members of the public.

Juvenile court officer addresses MCC school board.

#MasonCountyNews.

By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief.

SCOTTVILLE — Mason County Central Board of Education heard from Charlie Gunsell, Mason County Juvenile Court officer, during its regular monthly meeting Monday, April 23. Gunsell was invited to the meeting to explain to the board and community members about aspects of the law and juveniles who have entered into the juvenile court system.

In recent months, some parents of middle school students have attended the board meetings to express their concerns about the school informing parents when a student has been charged criminally.

Gunsell explained that the juvenile court lists juveniles in the criminal court system under three categories.

The first category includes children who are first time offenders.

“These are first time, minor offenses,” Gunsell said. “This information never leaves the courthouse. That information is between the family and our court.”

In this category, Gunsell said the court will not release information to the schools.

The second category includes children who may have committed a second offense. 

“This involves repetition of behavior,” Gunsell said. “We move up the scale of offenses. We will contact the school and let the school know that an offense has occurred, but not necessarily what has occurred, but instead to let them know we are working with this individual.”

The third category includes children who have committed repeat offenses.

“There are multiple violations with many variables,” Gunsell said. At this point the court will disclose details of the case to the school. “Now the school is in contact with us and we are in contact with the school, as well as employers and anyone else who has had contact with that child.”

Gunsell told the board and community members in attendance that he could not comment on specific cases. He said the categories are state statute not court or school policies. He also added that he cannot give any information about a case until the child has been adjudicated by the judge or appears in front of a jury. He said until that time, the crime is strictly an allegation.

Board President Jim Schulte said Gunsell was brought in to enlighten the board on the law.

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