Articles Posted in Teens

Teen drivers - photo of uniformed police officer walking up to white vehicle pulled over to side of the streetIt’s unnerving for any driver to be stopped for a traffic violation and even more so for inexperienced drivers. The driver’s manual doesn’t cover what to do in this situation but as parents we want our teens to be safe on the road, whether they’re moving with traffic or being pulled over by a police officer.

When it comes to your child’s driving skills, you can teach by example and reinforce what they learned in driver’s ed and behind-the-wheel training. But even experienced drivers make mistakes and risk being pulled over – your teen is no exception. To prepare him or her for that situation, see “You’ve Been Pulled Over, Now What?” on our Community News page. The article lists steps any driver should take when faced with a traffic stop.

snow shoveling bill -- photo of person shoveling snow from walkway of a homeIt isn’t unusual in winter to see teenagers shoveling their neighbors’ sidewalks and driveways in exchange for a little extra spending money. In fact, most people would applaud these teens for their hard work. And if they take the initiative to schedule snow removal jobs in response to a snowy forecast, most people would congratulate them for their entrepreneurial nature; however, this advance scheduling could put them in danger of breaking the law. Some New Jersey lawmakers want to change that.

The State Assembly was expected to vote today on a bill, a version of which gained unanimous approval by the State Senate last May, allowing New Jersey’s teens to solicit snow removal jobs without regulation. This bill was drafted in response to an incident last January in which a couple of Bound Brook teens were stopped by local police from handing out flyers in their neighborhood announcing their snow removal services. According to reports, the teens were warned that their actions were in violation of the municipality’s anti-solicitation laws. To read more on this issue, read “Could your kids be breaking the law when it snows?

juvenile-justice-400-04059447dNew Jersey Gov. Chris Christie last month signed into law a bill that would reform the State’s juvenile justice system. Among the reforms are significant changes to the use of solitary confinement as a punishment and a raise in the minimum age at which a juvenile offender could be prosecuted as an adult. Supporters of the bill have stated that while they believe additional reforms are needed, this bill goes a long way in making New Jersey’s juvenile justice system both fairer and safer.

For highlights of the changes to be enacted under this new law, see “New Jersey Juvenile Justice Reform Coalition Applauds Enacted Juvenile Justice Reform Bill” on

teen-employment-lawsSchool, for the most part, is over for the year, which means teens throughout the State are faced with the daunting task of finding summer employment. Whether they are just looking to earn some spending money, buy books, or pay a portion of their college expenses, there are certain things teens – and their parents – should know before embarking on that job search.

State law places certain restrictions on teen employment, such as age requirements, limits on hours worked, and mandated breaks during the workday. Dino Flammia’s article, “What you should know about working teens,” reports on some of the major rules regulating teen employment in New Jersey.


A current New Jersey case involving a Morris County high school girl who is suing her parents for support brings to light several questions regarding family law:

• Can and should courts interfere with parents’ rights to raise their children as they see fit?
• How far do parents’ financial obligations to their children extend?

• What defines an emancipated youth?

The case in question involves 18-year-old Rachel Canning who moved out of her family home after a disagreement over her parents’ rules and restrictions. Now Rachel is suing her parents for support, including continued payment of her private high school tuition and future college tuition. (1)

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pills.pngLast month’s National Prescription Take Back Day resulted in almost 15,000 pounds of expired prescription drugs being dropped off at collection sites throughout New Jersey alone. This was the seventh annual Take Back event sponsored by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) in an effort to combat a growing problem of prescription drug abuse in New Jersey and throughout the country.(1)

A recent news story on radio station NJ 101.5 called the problem a “growing epidemic” and went on to explain that abuse of prescription medication was second only to the abuse of marijuana. Underlining the seriousness of this addiction, statistics show that more than 17,000 people in the U.S. die each year from prescription drugs.(2)

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underagedrinking.jpgWhat started as a celebration ended in potentially serious consequences for a Lebanon Borough couple on May 17. Police, responding to a noise complaint, charged the couple with serving alcohol to minors after it was discovered that the approximately 40 party-goers included an undisclosed number of underage persons.(1)

Under New Jersey law, adults who serve alcohol to minors can be held liable if those minors are injured or killed as a result of their drinking. The adults can be charged for property damages and medical bills and can be sued for pain and suffering. (2)

In addition to the civil consequences, adults who enable underage drinking are subject to criminal charges. In New Jersey, it is a criminal offense to serve alcohol to anyone under 21 or to allow minors to use your home or property for the purpose of consuming alcoholic beverages. This offense carries a fine of up to $1,000 and/or up to six months in jail. Exceptions apply if the minor consumes alcohol in connection with a religious ceremony or observance or with the permission of a parent or guardian. (2)

Financing a higher education is a daunting task that has high school seniors from all walks vying for whatever tuition aid is available. Because need far exceeds availability these days, it is only logical that criteria for eligibility be set. But when a New Jersey teenager’s application for state aid was rejected recently, it raised the question of whether a child born in this country should be denied such benefits because of his or her parents’ immigration status. (1)

Generally, state and federal student aid is available only to U.S. citizens, permanent residents or certain other eligible non-citizens. (2) Whether states should extend this aid to children of illegal immigrants has been the topic of hot debate not only in New Jersey but across the country. Supporters say children should not be punished for the actions of their parents. Opponents, on the other hand, fear that granting financial assistance to children of illegal immigrants would deplete funds available for legal residents and/or put an undue burden on taxpayers. Proposed legislation that would have made illegal immigrants eligible for in-state tuition rates in New Jersey did not even win enough support for a vote. (3)

The New Jersey case currently in the media and the courts puts a slightly different twist on the issue, however: the student at the center of this case was born in this country, making her a legal citizen. Like many of her peers, she applied to the New Jersey Higher Education Student Assistance Authority (HESAA) for a Tuition Aid Grant. HESAA rejected the application on the basis that her mother was not a legal resident. That decision is being appealed. (1)

A New Jersey apartment complex was hit with a $7.4 million judgment and an Old Bridge teenager was put under house arrest in two separate incidents involving underage drinking.

A jury found the Excelsior Apartments in Hackensack culpable in a hit-and-run accident, which left a New Jersey cardiologist seriously injured because the driver involved was drinking at a complex-hosted party just prior to the accident, despite the fact that he was under the legal drinking age. (1)

Dr. Henry Lau, former chief cardiologist at Hackensack University Medical Center, suffered multiple injuries when he was hit by a speeding car driven by 20-year-old David Figueroa. Figueroa fled the scene of the accident but was later caught and charged with assault by automobile and with leaving the scene of an accident. (1)

On Saturday, September 25 New Jersey residents can safely dispose of their expired or unneeded medications through the federal Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) “Operation Take Back New Jersey.” (1)

The program was introduced last year in an effort to provide New Jersey residents with a safe and legal way to dispose of medication no longer needed, keeping it out of the hands of New Jersey youth. Teenage abuse of prescription drugs has become a growing concern, both in the State and throughout the country. Statistics bear this out:

• 20% of U.S. citizens 12 and older have abused prescription drugs, according to a report by the National Institute on Drug Abuse;

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