"Do you think that there are some juveniles who are beyond rehabilitation?"
"How do you define an effective affirmative action program?"
"Should the courts get involved when parents object to (their child getting an) abortion?"
Those were some of the questions District high school students asked panel members last weekend during a high school law forum at the Georgetown University Law Center.
Approximately 100 students from 16 District high schools attended the forum, which was sponsored by the Black American Law Students Association of Georgetown Law Center and the D.C. Street Law Project.
The D.C. Street Law Project offers street law classes in 17 District high schools. The classes, which are taught by Georgetown law students, teach students about everyday law in such areas as crime, housing and consumer services.
During a panel discussion on the treatment of juvenile offenders as adults, Linda Thorne, a student at Coolidge High School, asked Georgetown Juvenile Justice Clinic Director Wallace Mlyniec if, when a juvenile is "tried as an adult, does that mean he's beyond rehabilitations?"
"We're just saying because of the services the juvenile court has at this time" the juvenile cannot be helped in a rehabilitation center, Mlyniec replied. "We don't have the tools."
The panelists concluded that the present system for dealing with juvenile offenders is inadequate because no one yet knows what causes crime or how to treat it.
Another panel discussed the impact of the Bakke decision in which the Supreme Court ruled that Alan Bakke, a white male who was denied admission to the University of California-Davis Medical School, was discriminated against because of the school's affirmative action program.
"Will the Bakke decision reinforce the first-in-line status of the white male and will the status of blacks remain 'last hired, first fired'?" asked Mitchell Pryor, also from Coolidge.
Larry Ward, an attorney with the U.S. Department of Justice, said he didn't feel that Bakke will have a "negative impact on employment cases" because Title 7 of the Civil Rights Act assures equal employment status for minorities.
During the panel on medical rights of minors, Dr. Rudy Foy, of Howard University Hospital, stressed that, though minors in the District can obtain abortions without parental consent, a teen-age girl should involve an adult in her decision.
"I would try to convince her that she needs not only my medical help, but she needs a friend . . . if not her parents, an adult. She needs guidance: medical and emotional . . . she's about to commit a death.
An area student expressed concern about crime in the schools. "What is the D.C. schools.
"Unfortunately, I can answer you very cudent asked Douglas Jackson, associate legal counsel for the D.C. school.
"Unfortunately, I can answer you very clearly and in one word," Jackson said. "Nothing."
He said the school system was powerless to halt crime in the schools because "the offender has as much right to education as everyone else. Can we deny him the right to public education after he is convicted of a crime, simply because he has been convicted of a crime?"