Principals association sets up kids library for juvenile court

By ALLEN MINCEY Staff Writer
Posted 9/16/17

Many children who are at juvenile court are there for family matters, and not for situations of their own doing. Often, they sit in the lobby waiting for the court to speak to parents, guardians …

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Principals association sets up kids library for juvenile court

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Many children who are at juvenile court are there for family matters, and not for situations of their own doing. Often, they sit in the lobby waiting for the court to speak to parents, guardians or siblings, and are concerned over the proceedings.

To combat fear and give these youngsters n something to take their minds off events, the Bradley County Schools Principals Association has developed a small library for the juvenile center lobby.

Valley View Elementary School principal Corey Limburg, who heads the association, said the library will be a pleasant addition to juvenile court “because we are all in it for the kids.”

“This is just a simple way we can give back and spread our message about the importance of reading 20 minutes a day to a child,” Limburg added. “We also realize that each moment with a book can give a child a moment of getting away from whatever is going on in their life.”

The books were ordered from Amazon and recommended by guidance counselors in the school system. They are all age appropriate for children kindergarten age and younger, or at least of elementary school age.

Limburg said Taylor Elementary School principal Elizabeth Kaylor spearheaded the project.

“They are age appropriate, but they are also topic relevant, so you may find a child reading about the dog looking for a foster placement because that is something they have gone through, or the little boy who has anger issues because they may have the same thing going on,” Kaylor explained. “These titles might be extremely therapeutic for them.”

“You’ve seen a lot of emphasis on our ‘little libraries’ in the community, and we thought, ‘where could these books be more appropriate than at the juvenile court.’”

Bradley County Juvenile Court Judge Dan Swafford praised the educators for coming up with the idea for books in the court lobby.

“Many of the children, almost all of them, come through here in stressful situations. This is an opportunity for them to find something constructive to do and connect with the staff,” Swafford said. “Hopefully, it will become a nurturing dimension to court.

“We are always looking for ways to rehabilitate and have a calm, stable place for them, and the county principals have come up with a great idea by having the books available,” the judge added.

Terry Gallaher, juvenile division director, added his thanks to the principals for coming up with the library idea.

“What we see here is a very critical need for books the children can read in a critical situation where their parents are taken into custody or their older siblings are taken into custody and incarcerated,” Gallaher said. “It is very traumatic for these little children, but our staff is trained and looks for those specific children and makes sure they suffer as little as possible.”

Kaylor stressed the cost of the books were paid by administrators, and not the school system.

“I am so proud of how our local school systems are connected with us, and appreciate all that they do,” Gallaher stated.

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