Midway through July, news reports surfaced that a Black teenager by the name of Grace was jailed in Michigan for not completing her homework. The shocking news came just weeks after worldwide protests following the death of George Floyd began which made many believe this simply could not be true.
Upon further review, it was confirmed that the teen was indeed behind bars and the reason wasn’t any deeper than uncompleted homework. Students all over the United States were schooling from home due to the ongoing pandemic in America. With homeschool happening so abruptly, many parents had no time to prepare while also still trying to maintain employment during the worst economic climate in recent memory. When public backlash began to peak, Grace ended up being released from jail but she was still on probation that is until now, according to reports from ProPublica.
In a 20-minute court hearing that was live-streamed, Oakland County Judge Mary Ellen Brennan adopted a caseworker’s recommendation that Grace be released from probation and that her case be closed. The hearing followed a July 31 ruling by the Michigan Court of Appeals that ordered Grace’s release from Children’s Village, the facility in suburban Detroit where she had been held since May 14 — first in secure detention and then in a treatment program.
“Going forward, the court is hopeful that [Grace] has the tools and does make different choices in her home and at school,” Brennan said. She said court involvement is “appropriately terminated.”
“I wish this family well,” she said.
With all the backlash and shame brought upon the judicial system, Judge Brennan denied a request from Grace’s family attorneys to recuse herself. She even went as far as defending her prior actions on holding Grace from her family amid 300,000 signatures for her release. The system failed Grace and Judge Brennan just proves that is what it was designed to do. Grace’s mother said they will now celebrate and then refocus on goals they both set for each other in the future.