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#FreeGrace petition circulating after teen sent to detention center for not completing schoolwork

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Posted at 10:44 PM, Jul 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-16 08:50:04-04

OAKLAND COUNTY (WXYZ) — A petition on Change.org is circulating online in an effort to free a 15-year-old Oakland County girl who was ordered to a juvenile detention center for violating probation after not completing online coursework.

RELATED: Teen on probation sent to detention center for not completing course work; Oakland Co. executive now asking court to review case

ProPublica, a nonprofit publication, brought attention to Grace's story.

"This is a student with disabilities who was struggling with remote learning situation and ended up in detention because of that," said Jodi Cohen, a reporter with ProPublica Chicago.

Grace, 15, had gotten into legal trouble last year, and as one of the conditions of her probation, she had to attend school and complete classwork, which her mother tells ProPublica her daughter was doing until the pandemic hit.

"In school the student gets one-on-one support from teachers and is allowed extra time to complete assignments because of add and other disabilities," Cohen said.

Without that support and the daily structure she was used to, Grace struggled. So she reached out to her special education teacher. "To say she needed help and that one-on-one tutoring began the day after the violation against probation was filed against her," Cohen said.

In response to the case, Oakland County Executive David Coulter has asked for the Oakland County Circuit Court at Children's Village to review Grace's case.

“I spoke with the Judge this evening. While there are many more details that she is unable to share with me and the public to protect privacy of the minor and their family, I believe a review of this case within her court or during an appellate process is required. It has been a top priority of my administration to keep the young people and employees safe at Children’s Village during the pandemic and that includes limiting residency to immediate safety risks,” Coulter said in a statement.